THE Penang Government and the Kek Lok Si Temple at the Air Itam hills will build a multi-storey car park at the foot of the hill.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said there had been no progress in the building of a multi-storey car park for Kek Lok Si Temple visitors although the matter had long been discussed.
“We believe if the car park can accommodate up to 200 cars and tour buses, we will be able to solve car park and traffic congestion problems in the Air Itam Market area below the hill.
“In this project, the state government will handle land acquisition matters, while the temple sees to its development,” he said in his speech on Wednesday at Kek Lok Si Temple before the temple’s lighting ceremony to usher in Chinese New Year.
Lim said that since the Kek Lok Si Temple was a prime tourist destination, it was important to tackle traffic congestion problems in Air Itam.
“With Chinese New Year coming next week, the temple will be flooded with visitors. Therefore we need the people to be disciplined.
“If they can stop parking their vehicles illegally, I believe it will ease the traffic congestion,” he said.
He added that the local authorities had recently met with representatives from the temple, the police, and relevant departments to find a solution to the traffic problem.
Earlier, the temple abbot Rev Seck Jit Heng extended his apologies for the 13-month delay of the construction of the Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) pavilion due to problems in getting granite.
Rev Seck said the construction of the RM40mil 20-storey structure, which would house the 30.2m-tall bronze statue of the deity, would be wrapped up by the end of this year.
“We also hope that by the time we celebrate Chinese New Year in 2010, traffic problems at Air Itam will be dealt with,” he said.