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Friday June 27, 2008

Upset Penang CM resolves to find ways to solve traffic woes

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will look for ways to solve traffic congestion problems on the island on its own now that the monorail and Penang Outer Ring Road projects have been deferred.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government could not afford to implement such mega projects as they involved high capital and would look for other sources.

“Without help from the Federal Government, the state will have to look for its own solutions,” said Lim, who was visibly upset upon learning that the two federal projects had been taken off the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

Deferred: A woman walking in front of a hoarding featuring an artist impression of the monorail project in front of a construction site in George Town Thursday. The Federal Government has put the project on hold.

Lim added that the state government was willing to facilitate the acquisition of state land for the monorail project as it would smoothen traffic flow on the island.

Reactions from Penang Barisan Nasional leaders was mixed.

State Opposition leader and state Umno secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim described the move to defer both projects as a “wise and right decision”.

State Gerakan secretary Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan, however, said a delay would hamper the Federal initiative to develop Penang as the logistics hub for the Northern Corridor Economic Region project.

“Gerakan is appealing to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop who are both Penangites to review the decision. Both projects are vital for future economic growth,” said Dr Teng.

State MCA deputy chairman Lau Chiek Tuan called on the state government to source for funding for the projects if the Federal Government could not afford to support them.

“PORR is long overdue. The outer ring road and monorail projects must be implemented for better traffic management,” he said, adding that it was part of the government’s social responsibility.

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