Penang Transport Master Plan delayed by red tape

19 Apr 2019 / 18:38 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Transport Master Plan is now bogged down by a long bureaucratic process for approvals and this may lead to cost overruns if more obstacles are laid in the way of the RM40 billion plan to ease congestion.

Admitting this, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that nonetheless the state was committed towards fulfilling all terms and conditions before construction can begin on various segments of the project.

He acknowledged that the costs may increase but the approval process is something which the state must endure to ensure the project becomes a success.

Chow told a press conference that the long process was an inconvenience which the state has to bear as ultimately, they will only proceed once the plan receives full approval.

He expects earthworks to commence between 12 months to two years from now.

“We know the urgency here and we are working very hard to meet the criteria set by the regulators and approving bodies.”

Earlier, Chow revealed that the initial Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) for the reclamation of three artificial islands was rejected last year, owing to some weaknesses in the fisheries impact assessment.

Chow said a revised EIA was already prepared by the project delivery partner – the SRS Consortium in February and on April 29, there would be a public display of the revised EIA.

He also advised that legally the National Physical Planning Council (MPFN) under subsection 22 (2A) Act 172 of the Town and County Planning Act 1976 usually only provides advisories to propose fresh development projects.

“It does not provide approval but advisories. I understand that once the applicant fulfills the advisories, the project can commence.”

The mega reclamation venture, called the Penang South Reclamation, is to reclaim three islands, 930ha on Package A, 445ha on Package B and 323ha on Package C where new townships and industrial areas have been allotted.

The area will cover the southern coast line of Penang island, from Permatang Damar Laut, neat the Penang International Airport to Gertak Sanggul here.

The sales and lease from the project is expected to generate RM70 billion for the state government and it is also expected to underwrite most segments of the master plan.

The consortium is a venture between Gamuda Bhd, Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd and Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd, respectively.

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