GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will explore the possibility of scaling down or postponing part of the Penang South Islands (PSI) project after the Federal Government agreed to fully finance the state’s LRT project.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said state officials will soon meet up with SRS Consortium, the project delivery partner, to discuss the matter so that a decision could be made on the next course of action.
"The sale of land from PSI was supposed to fund the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project but since Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim made the announcement to finance the LRT project, we can afford to scale down or postpone part of PSI.
"The state will still be involved in the LRT project as we will help with the land acquisition and other matters," he told reporters at a charity food fair in Grove Road Sunday (May 7).
Chow added that Island A, to be known as Silicon Island, will have the Penang Green Tech Park, the high-technology industrial park which will feature research and development (R&D) facilities, as well as digital technology infrastructure, e-commerce and business process outsourcing.
"The reclamation of Island A (930ha), which is supposed to commence in the third quarter of this year, is supposed to be the continuation of the hi-tech legacy of the Bayan Lepas Free Zone," he said.
In a 33-second video posted by Penang DAP on Facebook on Saturday, the Prime Minister was seen making the announcement on the LRT funding during a speech on stage.
"The federal government will add funds in a large scheme to enable Penang to implement its LRT project immediately.
"Within a week or two, we will meet up with the state government to set up the scheme as it involves a large amount of loans that require the involvement of the federal government," he said.
The Bayan Lepas LRT project is among the major components of the state’s mega infrastructure project, the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
The LRT line will cover a distance of 22km, from Komtar to Permatang Damar Laut, with possible extension into three reclaimed off shore islands on the Teluk Kumbar coast, where there will be an additional eight stations.
PSI, the reclamation project involves the construction of three man-made islands, measuring 1820ha in total.
The state government intends to sell the islands to finance its ambitious PTMP, which is a massive infrastructure project that comprises highways, light-rail transit lines, monorail lines, and a cross-strait cable car line linking the island and mainland.
SRS Consortium is the state’s project delivery partner in the Penang Transport Master Plan, a multibillion-ringgit project encompassing extensive public transport infrastructure and road systems.
PSI is designed to fund the master plan, which includes the Pan Island Link and Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit.
The mega project off the southern coast of Penang island involves the reclamation and development of three islands covering 1,820ha comprising Island A (930ha), Island B (566ha) and Island C (324ha).
The magnitude of the reclamation also worries NGOs and environmental activists, who decry the project’s possible impact on the marine environment and fishermen, despite explanations and assurances by the state government.