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Thursday November 22, 2007

Penang Sentral to take shape


BUTTERWORTH: Work on the RM2bil Penang Sentral project here will start next month. 

The transportation hub, to comprise an integrated terminal for rail, road and sea travel, will be undertaken by Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) and Pelaburan Hartanah Bumiputra Bhd. 

Penang Port Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar said the transportation terminal would be completed within two to three years.  

“The temporary transportation terminal will be ready for occupation in January next year,” he said after presenting ISO 9001:2000 award certificates to PPSB’s corporate services unit and strategic business units here yesterday.  

A RM5mil temporary building is being built to ensure that bus services would not be disrupted when work on the transportation and logistic hub begins.  

The facilities for Penang Sentral will mirror Kuala Lumpur Sentral and on top of the transportation terminal, there will be a development of commercial and residential properties on the 12.8ha site.  

The site of the project was once the Butterworth bus terminal before it was razed in a fire in 2001.  

Ahmad also told reporters that Penang Port would welcome any organisation that was interested in providing additional sea transport to complement the current existing ferry services. 

Integrated terminal: Penang Sentral is modelled after Kuala Lumpur Sentral.
“If there is an organisation which is willing to provide water taxis or high-speed ferry services as suggested in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) blueprint, we welcome them,” he said.  

When asked if Penang Port would increase ferry fares as it was running at a loss of RM1mil every month, Ahmad replied that the government would know how to plan.  

“What the government needs to do is have better car park facilities for the park and ride concept and the (sea) water has to be cleaned up. 

On another matter, Ahmad said Penang Port did not suffer any loses during the 90-minute power failure that hit the state on Tuesday.  

“The power failure lasted about an hour but we had our generator set and UPS (uninterruptible power supply) to back us up. The port was not affected,” he said.  

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