GEORGE TOWN: Penangites have generally given the thumbs up to the proposed RM27bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) and the Penang South Reclamation (PSR), says a state exco member.
Penang Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the state had received an overall positive response after nearly nine months of proactively reaching out to relevant stakeholders for feedback on the two projects.
He said that from 14 briefings held to date, 13 garnered resounding support for the projects.
He said the engagement sessions were conducted at several locations across the state, involving audiences from government agencies, business associations, professional bodies, non-governmental organisations, the media and members of the public.
“Based on the overall positive response, Penangites welcome the projects which are expected to mitigate the worsening traffic congestion in Penang, provide more affordable housing and create sustainable economic growth.
“However, the fishermen in the south coast remain concerned on the proposed reclamation as they are worried it would impact their income,” Chow told a press conference in Komtar yesterday.
Among the components of the PTMP are trams, monorail, light rail transit lines, e-bus, bus rapid transit, a pan-island expressway, a catamaran ferry system and a RM100mil highway interchange upgrading project.
Three islands, of 930ha, 566ha and 323ha in sizes, are proposed to be created off the south of Penang island to fund the PTMP.
Chow said project consultants appointed to carry out the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA), Heritage Impact Assessment and Fisheries Impact Assessment studies had also concurrently carried out focus group discussions and case interviews with stakeholders along the Bayan Lepas LRT and Pan Island Link (PIL) 1 Highway alignments and the affected fishing villages.
“So far, a total of 44 group discussions and case interviews were held and the overall response had been favourable.
“Complementing the engagement efforts, the appointed Project Delivery Partner of the PTMP, SRS Consortium, had also been actively engaging various stakeholders on behalf of the state government.
“The PDP has to date conducted 220 engagement briefings involving different audiences for the PTMP, PSR and the fishing community,” Chow said.
He said measures proposed to help the fishing community include building four new fisherman wharves and setting up of a one-stop service centre with amenities to cater for boat repairs, among other functions.
“The PDP will submit the railway scheme for the Bayan Lepas LRT by next month to the Land Public Transport Commission, with conditional approval expected by June,” he said.
“The state government will be launching the official PTMP website by the end of the month which will serve as a one-stop information source and to assist the public in obtaining the latest updates on the transport master plan,” he added.