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Saturday April 2, 2011

Penang to turn into a megapolis

PETALING JAYA: The Federal and state governments will jointly develop a Greater Penang Transformation Programme to unlock development opportunities within the region.

A Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) statement said a four to sixweek lab would be held with Khazanah Nasional and the state government with participants from the public and private sectors.

It said Penang, the third largest urban Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contributor after Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru, had been identified as one of the three major metropolitican areas in the country.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said while both Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru were supported by integrated projects like the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area and Iskandar Malaysia, Penang was in need of a master development programme.

“The Greater Penang lab is tasked to create a detailed implementation programme to unlock the development opportunities within the region as well as to identify and resolve potential hurdles,” the Prime Minister said here yesterday.

Najib said under the 10th Malaysia Plan, Penang had been earmarked to benefit from RM17.9bil in total investments for the upgrading of physical infrastructure to enhance access and connectivity.

“This needs to be synergised with Entry Point Projects of the Economic Transformation Programme to prime Penang as the leading urban centre in the Bay of Bengal and the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Golden Triangle,” he said.

Projects under the Plan included the expansion and upgrade of the Penang Bridge, Penang International Airport and Penang Port, and the construction of the second Penang Bridge, electrified double track and Juru-Sungai Dua bypass.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said as an act of commitment, the state government had shelved its five-year industrial development masterplan to make way for the programme.

“The state government fully endorses the initiative for the programme. We pledge to fully cooperate to ensure a successful outcome,” he said.

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