Phase one of RM2bil Penang Sentral project can’t be ready by July 2011

CONSTRUCTION work on the first phase of the RM2bil Penang Sentral transport and logistics hub may not meet its July 2011 completion deadline due to delays in land acquisition.

MRCB Utama Sdn Bhd project manager (project/property) Zamri Mat Zain said the company was still in the midst of negotiating with several stakeholders on land acquisition and land alienation matters.

“Phase 1 and Phase 1A of the project involve land belonging to the Railway Authority Commission (RAC), Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) and the state government.

“We are working closely with both the Federal Government and state government to expedite the matter,” he said during a meeting between Penang Port users and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat recently.

Zamri said the delay was basically due to the land acquisition process which was expected to take some time to settle.

He, however, said the other areas of the project’s development were going on well.

Last November, MRCB executive director Datuk Zaki Zahid had said that work on the Penang Sentral project, covering 12ha of land near the Butterworth ferry terminal, was expected to take off this year.

Zaki also said that the project’s first phase costing RM300mil, which involved the construction of permanent bus and taxi terminals with access to the railway station and ferry terminal, along with retail outlets, was to be completed by 2011.

The second phase, which would comprise a commercial hub, including office towers, service apartments, a hotel and waterfront amenities, was scheduled for completion by 2015.

The Penang Sentral project, developed by Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) in partnership with Pelaburan Hartanah Bumiputera Berhad (PHBB), is part of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) initiative.

Both companies formed a joint venture company, called Penang Sentral Sdn Bhd, which would undertake the development of the transport and commercial hub.

MRCB Selborn Corporation Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of MRCB has been appointed to manage the development, design, construction, completion and maintenance of Penang Sentral.

Designed by local company, Veritas Architects, the state-of-the-art Penang Sentral project was launched by former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on July 31, 2007.

The transport hub is expected to cater to approximately 65 million passengers a year.

A RM5mil temporary bus terminal was completed near the project site in March 2008.

The former bus terminal, sited at the Penang Port Commission (PPC) Complex, could not be used after fire razed the complex in May 2001.

A recent check by The Star at the project site showed that apart from being used as a temporary bus depot, there were no signs of construction work in progress.

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