Soil erosion mitigation plans ignored, waters from stream identified as main cause !


A drone picture of the collapsed beams along Jalan Tun Sardon leading to Balik Pulau on the left while Jalan Paya
Terubong on the right leads to Relau.— CHAN BOON KAI/The Star
(Above) A closer view of the collapsed beams. (Right) The affected section of the project overlooking Jalan Paya Terubong heading to Relau in the background.

Tragic Situation: (Top) A landslide at the construction site in Jalan Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong, caused four containers to be covered with mud – Bernama,  Closed call:(Right below) Survivors of the landslide surveying the scene

 Checks show projects did not follow SOP

GEORGE TOWN: As the search and rescue operation for seven buried foreign workers at a construction site in Paya Terubong is going on, shocking information has surfaced that not a single construction site in Penang is following the soil erosion mitigation plan stipulated in their project approvals.

The Star has learnt that the state government has launched Ops Lumpur shortly after the general election, requiring enforcement officers from the local councils to inspect and report on every construction site in all five districts in the state.

A consultant civil engineer familiar with Ops Lumpur claimed that every single construction project did not observe the soil erosion mitigation plan.

He said Ops Lumpur was overseen directly by state exco members and enforcement officers were required to visit the sites.

“Their reports shocked the state exco members. Every contractor failed to do soil erosion measures in every site.

“Now you know why streams near construction site are always yellow when it rains,” he said.

The consultant engineer said the state went after developers who claimed they were not aware and blamed the contractors.

“Civil engineers are often disgusted when they do site visits because it is common for us to see that the soil erosion mitigation plans are never followed,” he said.

The consultant said it was easy to inspect construction sites and check on the progress and questioned whether state government agencies regularly conducted scheduled and surprise visits.

“How often do they conduct spot checks? How strictly do they conduct enforcement rounds on construction sites? If we keep contractors on their toes all the time, we might not have so many landslides,” he said, referring to the latest landslide in Bukit Kukus, the site of a hillside highway from Paya Terubong to Bukit Jambul is being built.

A teh tarik-coloured stream was observed flowing between Jalan Paya Terubong and the barred entrance to the highway construction site yesterday.

It has been raining almost every day in Penang this week.

In yesterday’s incident, rescue team found one survivor and two dead bodies. At press time, seven are still missing.

The Fire and Rescue Department received a distress call about the landslide at 1.56pm.

An Indonesian worker who only wished to be known as Endo, 36, said three of his relatives from Sulawesi were trapped in the landslide and he was working in another nearby construction site.

“It rained all night (Thursday). The rain stopped at 9am (yesterday) and resumed at 1pm. At my site, all of us stayed in our quarters and didn’t work because of the rain.

“I got a call from others that my relatives are missing. So, now I’ll just wait,” he said.

Last Thursday, 14 concrete beams measuring 25m long each, crashed down from an elevated section of the highway.

No injuries were reported and a stop-work order was issued pending investigations of the collapse.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who visited the site with several state exco members, said he reminded rescue workers to be wary while searching for the missing victims because the rain could have rendered the slopes unstable.

“All work has stopped here and the contractor was about to send in its report on the collapse of the concrete beams on Oct 11,” he said, adding that the place where the beams collapsed was far from the landslide. – The Star by arnold lohlo tern chern

Water from stream identified as main cause of landslide

GEORGE TOWN: Water flow from a stream on the hilly area in Jalan Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong, near here has been identified as among the cause of the landslide.

Azhari Ahmad, who is Mineral and Geoscience Department (JMG) director for Perlis, Kedah and Penang, said the finding was made based on its inspection and monitoring since Saturday.

“The JMG team identified several factors that caused the landslide, resulting in all containers on the hill slope to slide down with the earth.

“The main factor that caused the landslide is the water flow from a stream near the slope and heavy rain since Friday morning caused the water to overflow,” he told reporters yesterday.

Azhari said the department had taken immediate measure by diverting the flow of water from the stream elsewhere to avoid worsening the situation, especially during the search and rescue (SAR) operation.

He said further inspection conducted at 7.30am yesterday found the water flow on the slope was lesser but the department would continue to monitor the situa­tion with equipment from the Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team to ensure the safety of SAR personnel.

He said based on observation and inspection at the scene, the department found the location of the landslide to be at the concave slope which easily collected water.

“But we do not rule out the possibility of a follow-up landslide in the area due to the soil structure and there is still water flowing that can cause landslide.

“We have also advised the rescue team to stop operation immediately if it rains as it could cause another landslide,” he said.

Azhari said the department was assisting the rescue team in the SAR operation and did not rule out the possibility of it conducting further investigation to determine the ac­­tual cause of the landslide.

“We hope for fine weather and no rain so that the SAR operation can be continued until all the victims are found,” he said.

The landslide occurred at about 1.30pm last Friday.

The tragedy occurred following heavy rain in the state from Thurs­day afternoon until noon the following day, causing the landslide at the container and kongsi area at the Bukit Kukus paired road construction site.

Source: Bernama, Reports by LO TERN CHERN, N.TRISHA and R.SEKARAN


Related stories:


Zairil: Contractor to face action if accident due to negligence – Metro



Wake up and stop the landslides, state govt urged – Nation


Wake up and stop the landslides, state govt urged – Nation



DOSH: Builders told to stop work, but did not – Nation


CAP urges Penang govt to issue stop work order on hillside


October and November turning into ‘disaster season’


‘Put safety measures into place at construction sites’

Related post:

Precarious situation: The collapsed beams along Jalan Tun Sardon which fell and broke after being knocked down. https://www.thestar.c


UMNO President Zahid hit with 45 charges of CBT, money laundering and graft

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has been slapped with 45 charges at the Sessions Court here under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act and the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act.

The Umno president faces 27 counts under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act, 10 counts for committing breach of trust under Section 409 of the Penal Code and 8 counts of receiving bribe under Section 16 (a)(b) of MACC Act 2009.

The 27 charges under Amla involve RM72,063,618.15 , while the 10 CBT charges involve RM20,833,132.99 and the eight charges of corruption RM21,250,000.

He pleaded not guilty to all 45 charges.

Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi set bail at RM2mil to be paid in two instalments on Friday (Oct 19)

The court ordered RM1mil to be paid on Friday (Oct 19) and the balance before or on Oct 26.

The mention date has been fixed on Dec 14.

On Thursday, investigators arrested the 65-year-old former deputy president at 3.15pm.

Dr Ahmad Zahid was investigated over allegations of misappropriation of funds belonging to Yayasan Akal Budi, of which he is the chairman.

He is said to have used RM800,000 of the foundation’s money to settle his credit card bills. – The Star

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Najib & his strong wife Rosmah with 17 charges in Court over money laundering


Golden opportunity for DAP leaders to practise what they preached

In May this year, we voted for a change of government at both state and federal levels after 61 years of suffering under the yoke of Umno and its partners. We voted for hope and change.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) parties went from being in the opposition to becoming the government of the day. When they were opposition politicians they could only voice their objections and concerns. But today they are in power to carry out what they hoped and fought for. Are they carrying out the trust that we placed in them?

Let us examine this in relation to the biggest project confronting the people of Penang (also one of the largest mega projects in Malaysia): the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), and more immediately, phase 1 of this plan – the proposed Penang Island Link 1 (PIL 1) and the LRT project. The PIL 1 is an extension of the aborted Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR).

What did our present Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow say when he was the opposition MP in 2002? “If the findings of the Halcrow Report are true, Dr Koh would be irresponsible in pushing the PORR through as this will not be a long-term solution to the traffic congestion on the island…”

There were two other minor reasons why Chow opposed the PORR: because it was a tolled road and no open tender was used to award the project. But these cannot be the main reasons for opposing it.

And what did Lim Kit Siang say on May 28, 2002?

“The nightmare of the Penang traffic congestion is likely to be back to square one, not in eight years but probably less than five years, after the completion of PORR.

“What Penang needs is an efficient public transport system based on sustainable transport policy, as PORR is not a medium-term let alone long-term solution to the traffic congestion nightmare on the island.”

Since these two DAP leaders could not be clearer on why they opposed construction of the PORR as it would not solve traffic problems, how does Chow now justify the PIL 1?

According to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the PIL 1, the consultants reported that by 2030 (between five and seven years after completion of PIL 1), traffic volume will reach up to 8,000 pcu/hour (passenger car unit) during evening peak hours.

Translated into layman’s terms, we would be back to square one in terms of traffic congestion. This was exactly what the transport report of 1998 by international consultant Halcrow said of PORR. Back then, Chow asked Koh Tsu Koon (then Penang’s chief minister) to disprove Halcrow’s findings. Today we ask Chow the same question.

Public policy must be based on scientific study, analysis and evidence, not on whims and fancies. (That is why the Penang state government funds the Penang Institute to provide sound policy analysis and advice.) If the EIA’s conclusion is that the PIL 1 will not solve traffic congestion in the medium and long term, then the chief minister must justify to the people of Penang on what other grounds he based his decision to spend RM8 billion on one highway that will not solve Penang’s traffic congestion and is fraught with safety risks, on top of financial, environmental, social and health costs. How should he explain his volte-face?

Lim Kit Siang made it clear that the only alternative is to have an efficient public transport system. This is a golden opportunity for these leaders to implement what they preached. The chief minister said at a town hall meeting on Sept 20 that the state is proposing a balanced approach to solving the transport problem: building roads and public transport.

Let us examine the actual facts.

1. Penang island presently has 2.8 times more highways on a per capita basis than Singapore (84m per 1,000 persons in Penang versus 30m per 1,000 persons in Singapore).

2. The state government under the PTMP is planning to build another 70km of highways, many of them elevated, marring the city landscape and thereby doubling our highway per capita to 4.5 times that of Singapore.

3. Presently Penang’s public modal share of transport is dismal at 5%, i.e., only 5% of people who travel use public transport, compared to 67% in Singapore.

From the above, it is clear that Penang’s transport situation today is totally tilted towards roads and against public transport. Hence a balanced approach must mean prioritising improvement of public transport and not the construction of more highways that encourage more private road use.

The primary objective of the PTMP is to raise public modal transport share to 40% by 2030. But spending RM15 billion on building highways in the first phase of the PTMP (RM8 billion on PIL 1 plus RM6.5 billion on the three paired roads and tunnel under the Zenith package) and RM8 billion on one LRT line is NOT a balanced approach.

In fact, under the Halcrow PTMP, an integrated public transport network consisting of trams, bus rapid transit, commuter rail and a new cross-channel ferry service was estimated to cost RM10 billion. But all these are shelved or relegated to future dates while priority is given to building highways. The chief minister must explain to the people of Penang why such an unbalanced approach is adopted. Is the policy based on scientific evidence or on other types of interests that we are unaware of?

The saying that “justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done” aptly applies in this case. The people of Penang must have clear and credible answers to dispel any possible misgivings.

I respect and have worked with Chow for the last 10 years on the Penang transport issue.

I recall what he told Koh: that if the findings of the EIA report are true then Koh would be irresponsible in pushing the PORR.

Now, in the case of PIL 1, the arguments are even stronger that this will not be a long-term solution to the traffic congestion on the island.

Source: FMT by Lim Mah Hui

Lim Mah Hui is a former professor, international banker and Penang Island city councillor.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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Penang Forum calls to review Penang mega projects


Penang new Chief Minister taking Penang to the next level

 Go-ahead likely for Penang LRT


Penang Island City Council, MBPP councilor Dr Lim fed up change not happening in Penang


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Penang’s eight transport plans unfulfilled, Not even one commenced work, says Teng


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Malaysia’s widening income gap between rich and the poor has only RM76 a month after expenses


The State of Households – Khazanah Research Institute


Launch of State of Households 2018: Different Realities. From left to right: Datuk Hisham Hamdan, Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi, Allen Ng, Dr Suraya Ismail, Junaidi Mansor.

Malaysia’s widening income gap

KUALA LUMPUR: The gap in income between the rich, middle class and poor in Malaysia has widened since 2008, according to a study by Khazanah Research Institute (KRI).

In its “The State of Households 2018” report, the research outfit of sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd noted that the gap in the real average income between the top-20% households (T20) and the middle-40% (M40) and bottom-40% (B40) households in Malaysia has almost doubled compared to two decades ago.

The report, entitled “Different Realities”, pointed out that while previous economic crises in 1987 and the 1997/98 Asian Financial Crisis saw a reduction in the income gap between the T20 and B40/M40, post 2008/09 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), those disparities were not reduced.

But the Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality in the country, had declined from 0.513 in 1970 to 0.399 in 2016, denoting improvement in income inequality in Malaysia over the past 46 years.

Explaining the phenomenon, Allen Ng, who is the lead author of the KRI report, said income of the T20 households had continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace than that of the M40 and B40 since 2010.

“However, because they (the T20) started at a higher base, the income gap between the T20 and M40/B40 had continued to grow despite the fact that the relative (income growth) is actually narrowing post-GFC,” Ng explained at a press conference after the launch of the report here yesterday.

On that note, Ng calls for greater emphasis and investment in human capital to address the income disparities in the country.

“Human capital is the lynchpin that will help us in the next mile of development,” Ng said.

“Based on the work that we have done, and the way we read the issue, the most important equaliser in terms of income inequality is actually human capital. If we don’t address the quality of our education system, we will not be able to solve the problem of income inequality,” he added.

Among the many key issues highlighted in the report, the state of human capital development in Malaysia was noted as a crucial element to complement the country’s transition towards a knowledge-based economy.

“To complement the knowledge-based economy, the state of human capital development in this country – of which 20% of government expenditure goes to education – has plenty of room for improvement,” the report stated.

Worryingly, the report noted that despite Malaysians receiving 12 years of schooling, they receive only nine years’ worth of schooling after adjusting for education quality.

“The central issue of generating high-quality human capital in this country is an important one as the transition to a high-income nation requires human capital levels that continuously improve productivity, sustain growth and are able to create or utilise technological advancements rather than being substituted by it,” the report said.

Meanwhile, KRI also noted that despite the improvement in income inequality and declining poverty rates in Malaysia, poverty in the country remained rampant.

“While the absolute poverty rate has been steadily declining, it is estimated that an additional one million households lived in ‘relative poverty’ in 2016 compared to two decades ago,” it said in its report.-  The Star

Malaysia’s Lower Income Group Only Has RM76 To Spend A Month After Expenses

Some numbers for your soul.- PIC: Department of Statistics Malaysia

According to The Star Online, these households — categorised under the bottom 40% (B40) income group in the country because they are earning less than RM2,000 a month — only have RM76 to spare, after deductions, in 2016.

As comparison, these households have a residual income of RM124 in 2014.

The reason for the sharp decline? They were forced to spend more of their income on household items.

The study revealed that these households are spending 95 per cent of their total  income on consumption items in 2016 compared to 2014, when the same households spend ‘only’ 92 per cent of their income on daily items.
So, what’s the cause behind this worrying trend?

The report indicated that the rising cost of living is mainly to be blamed for the increase in household expenditure, so #ThanksNajib.

In fact, the report revealed that the high cost of living has affected not only the B40, but all income groups as well.

The real residual household income has, according to the report, reduced
for all income classes. For example, households earning above RM15,000
has a real resi­dual income of RM13,100 in 2016, down from RM14,458 in

Sigh, we guess we just have to spend our money wisely from now on. No more RM16 Caramel Frappuccino® from Starbucks from now on.

Money, where did you go?

We know we keep saying that we’re broke, but after reading this report, we found out that there are a lot of people out there who are having it worse than us.

A recent Khazanah Research Insti­tute (KRI) study revealed that every month, the average lower-income household in Malaysia has barely enough to survive after household expenses are deducted.

It’s, like, really, really bad!

We need a complete overhaul of our education system, says NUTP – Nation


Malaysia’s widening income gap between rich and poor – Business …




Bukit Kukus paired road hits snag before mishap, stop work order to contractor on collapsed beams

Precarious situation: The collapsed beams along Jalan Tun Sardon which fell and broke after being knocked down.


Stop work, road contractor told


BALIK PULAU: The contractor of the 600m elevated road project linking Jalan Bukit Kukus to Jalan Tun Sardon here has been issued with a stop-work order.

The order came following a mishap on the site where 14 concrete beams measuring 25m each fell onto a slope in Jalan Tun Sardon on Thursday.

Eleven beams broke apart in the 8.30pm incident. However, no injuries were reported.

It is learnt that a crane operator accidentally knocked down one of the beams laid on the ground, causing others to fall onto the slope like dominoes.

Penang Department of Occupa­tional Safety and Health (DOSH) director Mohd Rosdee Yaacob said the contractor had been instructed to be present at the DOSH office tomorrow for a meeting.

“We are reviewing the standard operating procedures at the work site.

“For now, the contractor is not allowed to load and unload other concrete beams,” he said yesterday

Mohd Rosdee said his officers were only sent to the site on Friday as they were not immediately informed of the incident.

State Works Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the contractor had been told to prepare a full report for DOSH.

He said the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) would also initiate an internal inquiry tomorrow.

The construction of the elevated road, together with the upgrading of a 1.1km stretch along Lebuhraya Thean Teik and a 1.5km stretch along Lebuh Bukit Jambul, is a MBPP project costing RM275.6mil and is scheduled for completion early next year.

The three segments are part of the project for the construction of the RM545mil alternative road – Jalan Bukit Kukus – to help ease traffic snarls along Jalan Paya Terubong, which is an arterial road linking Bayan Baru, Balik Pulau and Air Itam.

The construction works involve linking Lebuhraya Thean Teik in Bandar Baru Air Itam and Lebuh Bukit Jambul in Penang via Jalan Bukit Kukus, building an elevated U-turn along Lebuh Bukit Jambul for those who want to make a turn and go back to Relau. – The Star

Paired road already hits snag


Slow path ahead: The elevated road near Jalan Paya Terubong in Penang will not be ready for another two years.

GEORGE TOWN: Work on the RM545mil Jalan Bukit Kukus paired road project has hit a snag even before the construction mishap in Jalan Tun Sardon.

The completion date on the project, an alternative road linking Lebuhraya Thean Teik in Bandar Baru Air Itam to Lebuh Bukit Jambul, will be delayed by a year till mid-2020 due to unforeseen obstacles during construction.

State Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari, in describing the project as “very complicated”, said it was constructed by three parties as a cost-saving measure.

“The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will construct 2.8km of the stretch, while PLB Land Sdn Bhd and Geo Valley Sdn Bhd will construct the remaining 1.4km and 0.7km respectively,” he said.

Zairil said while the three parties involved in the works faced various issues resulting in the delay.

“For example, the MBPP which is working on the 2.8km stretch costing RM275.6mil, faced a delay due to land acquisition issues, realignment and relocation of cables.

“The project is 69% done and to be completed by early 2020.

“PLB Land faced issues with big rocks and boulders. The RM150mil section has progressed 36% and scheduled for mid-2020,” he said.

Zairil said that Geo Valley faced legal issues as the residents affected by their section of the project took up matters with the Appeals Board and the case was pending.

The RM120mil stretch by Geo Valley is now 18% completed.

“Once PLB and Geo Valley complete their portions, we will connect them accordingly,” he said.

It was earlier reported that the contractor of the 600m elevated road project linking Jalan Bukit Kukus to Jalan Tun Sardon was issued with a stop-work order.

The order came after a mishap on the site where 14 concrete beams measuring 25m fell onto a slope in Jalan Tun Sardon on Thursday. No injuries were reported.

It is learnt that a crane operator accidentally knocked down one of the beams laid on the ground, causing others to fall onto the slope.

Paya Terubong assemblyman Yeoh Soon Hin hopes that there will be no further delays.

“About 60,000 vehicles use Jalan Paya Terubong daily to get to Bayan Lepas, and traffic congestion is bad during peak hours.

“I hope the project will be completed safely according to specifications and on schedule for the people to use,” he said.

Once the alternative route is completed, traffic is expected to see a reduction of at least 30%.

The new link will comprise a dual carriageway with a bicycle lane, walkway and LED street lights.

A small waterfall on the hill will also be retained and construction would go around the waterfall.

Last month, MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the construction on the paired road would take up RM44.2mil of the council’s budget next year. – The Star by Lo Tern Chern


Dosh: Stop-work order on elevated road project stays 


Public talks heading nowhere – Metro News


Penang Forum wants eco-review of PIL 1


The Tips and Procedures for Issuing a Stop Work Order

2 Things You Should Never Say To A Contractor – Residential …



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Penang Paya Terubong Residents living under shadow of fear!


PAC blamed Penang Island City Council (MBPP) for failing to enforce laws on hillside development 


IJM hill clearing & Trehaus construction damaged nearby houses since 2014 must be mitigated quickly

China tycoon to invest RM10b in M’sia, ADB debunks BRI ‘debt trap’ concerns

China tycoon to invest RM10b in Malaysia

Yan Jiehe says country is business friendly, with strong fundamentals

China’s Pacific Construction Group Ltd (CPCG) gave Malaysia a vote of confidence with a planned RM10bil investment over 10 years in areas including infrastructure development and hi-tech machinery.

Yan Jiehe (pic), founder of CPCG, which is No. 96th in 2018 Fortune Global 500, said Malaysia “is business friendly, and one of the most competitive countries in the region”.

“The country’s fundamentals are strong. You have excellent infrastructure, a robust eco-system and a big pool of trilingual talents. Kuala Lumpur, is thus, a strategic launch pad for our expansion into Asia Pacific.

“We plan to invest up to RM10bil over 10 years in Malaysia in line with our core business areas of infrastructure development, hi-tech machinery and education,” he said in a statement.

Yan also said CPCG was open to increasing its investment especially for federal projects that would benefit the people.

“With our track record of having successfully delivered complicated construction projects in China, we are confident that, in collaboration with local partners, we will be able to do the same in Malaysia,” he said.

The group, in a move to make it easier to invest in Malaysia and across Asia Pacific, CPCG has set up CPCI Holdings Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary in Kuala Lumpur as its regional technical competency centre.

CPCI is involved in a RM200mil construction project in Sahabat, Sabah.

“Within the next five years, we plan to employ 150 highly skilled professionals of which more than half will be Malaysians as we position CPCI as a major player across the Asia-Pacific region. These trilingual local talents will be invaluable to work on the group’s projects worldwide,” Yan added.

With CPCI, the group would be able to optimise its operations by centralising its regional decision-making and key activities in Kuala Lumpur including accounting, strategic business planning, business development, bid and tender management, as well as engineering services.

Under its education strategy, CPCI plans to set up business schools and universities, and provide scholarships to local students. As a start, CPCI will provide up to 500 scholarships for construction and engineering students in local universities.

On the group itself, CPCG had a total revenue of RM319bil and it is the biggest private-owned construction company in the world. Founded in 1995 by Yan, CPCG was named as one of the Top 500 Chinese enterprises. It is one of the largest integrated construction groups in China and Asia in terms of the total engineering contract revenue. – The Star


ADB  Panel debunks ‘debt trap’ concerns

 ‘Belt and Road Initiative not out to cause hardship to recipients’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and two China watchers do not believe that China is using its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to practise debt diplomacy and causing hardship to recipient nations.

“I don’t buy the notion of China practising debt diplomacy. It is not a sustainable model.

“I don’t think this is the objective of the Chinese government in launching the BRI,” said ADB vice-president Stephen Groff.

Groff told a regional China Conference here yesterday that the failure of some BRI recipient countries to repay loans was due to their “lack of capacity”.

China’s ambitious BRI, which spans more than 65 countries, has given rise to criticism that it will drag developing countries into debt they cannot repay.

Malaysia recently cancelled several projects, saying it could not afford to implement them.

Reminding accusers of China to adopt an evidence-based approach, Groff said countries should look at their capacity when coming to the negotiating table.

At the same panel discussion on “Avoiding Belt and Road debt trap”, Prof Dr Belal Ehsan of International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance said China’s BRI had played an important role in infrastructure investments in Asia.

“Every country in the world is corrupt. It is a question of degree. China now needs a new financial architecture for BRI.

“It cannot be debt-driven but risk-sharing and profit-sharing (like Islamic financing) so that no one is a loser in the end,” he said.

Describing the “debt trap” as a concoction of Western governments and media, chief economist of IQI Global Shan Saeed said: “The rise of China is inevitable, whether you like it or not.

“The US government, media and people do not understand history and culture.

“China has 5,000 years and US only 250.

“In the Western world, everything about China is bad. The time has come for us not to listen to the Western media and be dictated by Western policies.”

To reduce risk in BRI projects, Saeed proposed loans be denominated in local currency or yuan, and not in the US dollar.

ADB believes that adopting transparency and international standards in financing will also help nations reduce risk.

“Institutions have learnt from experiences in the 1990s on debt problems.

“It has taught us the importance of transparency and sustainable framework,” said Groff. – The Star by Ho Wah Foon




IMF’s Lagarde warns against trade, currency wars, urges … – Reuters UK



Jack Ma: US will suffer more in trade war

New mode of public transport, the ART (Autonomous Rail-Rapid Transit) for Penang, wait no more !

ART – Can be completed within 1 year for Penang lang, wait no more ! 年内就可以通车。槟城人,要不要?!

The ART (Autonomous Rail-Rapid Transit) was nominated for an award in the “Beazley Designs of the Year 2017,” which was organized by London’s Design Museum to celebrate the world’s most innovative design ideas.

note: Autonomous rail-Rapid Transit (ART) costs 90% cheaper than LRT.

> 150 delegations from over 20 overseas cities have visited the project, its developer said.



ART Intro Video

How trackless trams could revolutionise Perth’s public transport

Beautiful Malaysia

Georgetown, Malaysia


The panel answering questions at the public dialogue on the Penang Transport Master Plan last month (filepic).

New mode of public transport

GEORGE TOWN: The state government will look into Penang Forum’s suggestion of an Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART) system as an alternative to the light rail transit (LRT).

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (pic) said the state government was briefed by China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) on the new train system last week.

“ART is relatively new. CRCC presented the system to us with the same slides and video used by Penang Forum.

“It will not be fair for us to respond now as ART is new to us, but we are not ruling it out,” he said after the question-and-answer session of a public dialogue on the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) at Dewan Sri Pinang on Sunday.

“All this while, Penang Forum never mentioned ART. Before this, they spoke of trams,” Chow said, responding to the presentation made by Penang Forum member Dr Lim Mah Hui.

Chow added that in the video, the train was on a highway with eight to 10 lanes.

“Penang does not have that much road space,” he said.

ART is a rail-less system for urban passenger transport, similar to other guided busways.

Later, in a press conference, Chow said ART did not require an actual railway.

“It has rubber wheels running on roads. It is directed by a sensor system, installed along the road and can be dedicated or shared with other modes of transport.

“If it is dedicated, other measures need to be taken into consideration, like when it approaches an intersection, the traffic light must be programmed to give priority to ART.

“If not, then it is no different from a bus,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Rural Industry and Entrepreneurship Organisation declared its support for the PTMP at the dialogue.

Its secretary-general John Ooh Sin Hwa said the transportation problem not only caused a daily inconvenience but had a negative impact on the state’s economic growth.

“We feel that the benefits and advantages outweigh negative implications.

“PTMP is a noble and sincere effort by the state government,” he said, adding that they would carry out a survey in rural areas and present the findings to the government. – The Star by tan sin chow and n. trisha

keen on ART system

PENANG Forum stands by its proposal for an autonomous rail rapid transit (ART) system instead of a tram system.

The group’s steering committee member Dr Lim Mah Hui said they were not ‘tram salesmen’ and that they made the suggestion based on the best mode of transportation implemented in other cities.

“Basically, the Halcrow proposal favours a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and tram system.

“And, it is only the suggestion of SRS Consortium that the proposed Penang Transport Master Plan should include an elevated Light Rail Transit (LRT).

“The state said they were not going for the trams because of the cable work needed but the LRT system would require digging and piling which would be more expensive and take a longer time,” said Dr Lim in an interview recently.

He urged the state government not to rush into implementing the LRT as it “might be obsolete in a few years”.

“Penang Forum was only made aware of the ART system a few months ago.

“Who knows what type of advanced public transportation system we might see in a few years?” he said, adding that there was a need for a financial comparison of the LRT, tram, BRT and ART systems.

When asked if Penang Forum would conduct a session to explain the ART system, Lim said he would discuss it with the committee.

He cited an article in The Sydney Morning Herald which called for an ART system to be implemented in Perth.

He said the article also claimed that trackless trams would be able to avoid the worst features ofan light rail system in terms ofdisruption and costs.

The first trackless tram rolled out for a road test was in Zhuzhou, south China’s Hunan Province, on Oct 23, 2017.

Last month, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state would look into the suggestion to implement the ART system when the matter was raised during a question- and-answer session of a public dialogue on the Penang Transport Master Plan at Dewan Sri Pinang.

Chow said the state government was briefed by China Railway Construction Corporation on the new train system.

“The ART has rubber wheels running on roads.

“It is directed by a sensor system installed along the road and it can be dedicated or shared with other modes of transport,” he said. – The Star by Intan amalina mohd ali




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