Penang reclamation project starts February


GEORGE TOWN: Works on the Penang South Reclamation (PSR), which is supposed to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), will begin next February, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

He said the contract for the first stage of work, which is the reclamation, was expected to be awarded on Feb 1.

He added that the contract for the construction of a workers’ dorm and a site office at Permatang Damar Laut project would likely be awarded on Dec 1.

Chow also said the targeted award dates for three other components of PTMP were Pan Island Link 1 (March 1), Pan Island Link 2A (Aug 1) and Bayan Lepas Light Railway Transit (Oct 1).

“The Bayan Lepas LRT project is awaiting the transport minister’s signature on the key railway scheme approval,” he said during a press conference at his office in Komtar on Wednesday.

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.

The state has proposed to implement the PSR project to raise funds for the PTMP.

The RM9bil Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit 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 Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) is a highway project that connects Gurney Drive to the Penang International Airport, while PIL 2A is an extension road from the main Penang island to one of the artificial islands of PSR.

It was earlier reported that the proposed projects of PTMP have run into protests by environmental groups and fishermen over the years.

The environmentalists have argued that such a massive development would adversely impact the livelihood of fishermen and the marine ecosystem in the southern part of the island.

At the same press conference, Chow also announced that a company – Penang Infrastructure Corporation Sdn Bhd – has been formed as a special purpose vehicle to award projects related to the RM46bil PTMP.

He said the state government-linked company would also be in charge of planning and developing PSR once the islands were created, and the financing matters related to the PSR.

He added that he, state secretary Datuk Abdul Razak Jaafar and state public works committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari are the company’s board members.

“A chief executive officer will be picked, followed by experts in the field to be part of the company soon.

“We will hold our first board meeting today,” he said.

When asked if investors’ interests in the undersea tunnel project and the three roads projects would be affected following renewed investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Chow said the tunnel and roads project, as part of the larger PTMP, remain a project of high interest, as it would likely be successful.

“The MACC has yet to announce anything.”

On the issue of Penang not being able to issue bonds without Federal Government approval, Chow said six to seven banks who were interested to finance the project said they only needed state guarantee to issue bonds.

“If the banks only need a state guarantee, then we cannot say no.

“Banks which are interested to help finance the project are welcomed to come in with proposals,” he said.

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