State seeking federal guarantee on mega projects

THE Penang government wants a meeting with the new federal administration to discuss the financial arrangement for its mega projects, especially the RM46bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the projects were progressing as scheduled and work on getting approval for a few more studies was still ongoing with the target date this month.

“We are still working on finalising the details of the project delivery partner (PDP) agreement.

“The state is also trying to get confirmation from the Federal Government on providing guarantee for the PTMP’s financial arrangement with the banks,” he said.

Penang wrote to the Federal Government last year to appeal for a RM10bil funding for the Bayan Lepas light rail transit (LRT) and the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1), which are components of the RM46bil PTMP.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had proposed then that the state issue bonds to fund the Bayan Lepas LRT project.

The RM9bil LRT line will begin from Komtar and pass through Jelutong, Gelugor, Bayan Lepas and the Penang International Airport before ending at the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) near Teluk Kumbar.

The RM9.6bil PIL 1 is a highway project that connects Gurney Drive to the airport.

The PSR is a proposed project to reclaim 1,821ha of the sea to create three islands south of the airport towards the east around Permatang Damar Laut.

It received the Environmental Impact Assessment approval in July last year with 72 conditions attached.

On the Penang undersea tunnel, Chow said the project under Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC) was still in the feasibility studies phase.

CZC won the concession in an open tender in 2013, with the cost of the tunnel and the three roads to be paid in kind with 44.5ha of land in Gurney Wharf.

Work on the 5.7km Ayer Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass, which is one of the three paired roads under PTMP, began recently.

The other two roads in the pipeline are Tanjung Bungah-Teluk Bahang (10.53km) and Jalan Pangkor-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (4.1km).

The 7.2km undersea tunnel will connect George Town’s Pangkor Road and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth.

It is scheduled to begin in 2023 after feasibility studies.

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