PENANG will see a plethora of new development projects helmed by the state government that will see its coastline changing.
From Batu Ferringhi to Butterworth, a string of projects has been planned along coastal areas to spur the economy, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced in his speech when tabling the state budget last Friday.
He said the state was working with the private sector to build a coastal resort and spa project in Batu Ferringhi to boost tourism.
“The RM10mil world-class project will offer between 80 and 100 rooms besides spa services and tourism amenities along the beach.
“The state is optimistic that the project will spur the tourism industry and contribute to the local economy, ” he announced.
Chow, however, did not specify which part of the Batu Ferringhi coast the project would be in.
He also announced the Penang’s New City Core (PNCC) which is along Weld Quay and downtown Butterworth’s coastline across the channel.
“The state is careful with development planning to ensure that land-use is maximised to bring positive impact for the people.
“The high potential waterfront areas in Weld Quay and Butterworth will be transformed into a new attraction as PNCC. It will bring in new investments and turn Penang into a smart, liveable and sustainable state.
“PNCC’s economic contribution will come from the innovation, cultural and creative industries, ” he said.
Another development taking place along the coastline involves North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT).
Chow announced that the Federal Government planned to expand NBCT by increasing its capacity from two million twenty- foot equivalent units (TEU) to 2.32 million TEUs by next year.
“This project will not only benefit the state but also Malaysia-Thailand trade.
“Penang Port Sdn Bhd is drafting the Port Master Plan with Penang Port Commission to make the port into international one for the region. This will see NBCT’s capacity growing to 7.5 million TEUs by 2024, ” he said.
He thanked the Federal Government for the RM100mil allocation to build a cable car to Penang Hill, which was expected to receive 1.9mil visitors this year, but said the project was subject to feasibility studies and approvals from relevant authorities.
For next year’s state budget, Chow said the state was projecting a RM273.5mil deficit.
“Based on the projection of RM519.2mil to collect in revenue and RM792.7mil to be spent next year, the 2020 budget will record a deficit, but lower than this year’s estimated deficit of RM395.69mil.
“The main reason for the reduction in expenses is because contributions towards the state development fund has reduced from RM230mil this year to RM150mil next year.
“The state will be receiving loan repayments from Penang Development Corporation and Penang Water Supply Corporation next year, ” he said.
Chow, in his closing remarks, announced that Penang secretary Datuk Seri Farizan Darus will retire after serving in the civil workforce for over 35 years.
His last day of work is Nov 7.
Farizan spent 26 years working in three different districts in Penang.
He was first posted to Penang from Kuala Lumpur in 1989.
PENANG BUDGET 2020 HIGHLIGTS
RM104mil for drainage improvements and flood mitigation projects.
RM60mil for Islamic development, including the building of religious schools.
iSejahtera aid for the poor to continue with an allocation of RM50mil.
Tourism development gets RM35.8mil.
Yearly allocation of RM12mil to religious, missionary, vernacular and private schools to be continued.
Penang Hill development plans get RM15.4mil.
Free bus rides under Congestion Alleviation Transport (CAT) bus programme to continue with RM15mil budget.
RM10.5mil for sports development.
RM4.07mil for agricultural development.
RM2.98mil for Veterinary Services Department to boost livestock industry.
3,996 Penang civil servants will get half month’s salary or at least RM1,000 as a special financial aid each, amounting to RM5.42mil.
Annual funding for Penang schools’ infrastructure upgrades and maintenance increased from RM3mil to RM5mil.
Penang students offered places in higher learning institutions will continue to receive state aid with an allocation of RM4mil.
Staff and teachers of all religious and private Chinese schools continue to get cash gift of either RM300 or RM200.
RM2.1mil allocated to set up Penang Digital Corporation to spearhead smart state and digital development.
RM1.2mil set aside to ensure every Penang civil servant attends at least five days of courses or workshops next year.
178,000 senior citizens will get RM150 instead of RM130 next year in Penang’s Senior Citizens Appreciation Programme.
10,000 registered disabled persons are getting RM150 instead of RM130 next year.
RM886,000 budgeted for women to get free mammogram tests under Mammo-Penang Programme.
RM250,000 for five-year effort to make Penang a cigarette smoke-free state.