Penang all set to make waves as EIA approved, work of second phase of PSR has begun


Ministry has given the green light to the Penang government for the EIA report on the Penang South Reclamation scheme near Teluk Kumbar. The project will take off early next year.


GEORGE TOWN: The state government has secured approval for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) scheme near Teluk Kumbar.

It is learnt that the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry has given the green light, paving the way for the three man-made islands totalling 1,800ha to take shape off the southern coast of the island.

The report incorporates 23 conditions proposed by the relevant government agencies and non-governmental organisations. It is prepared by project delivery partner SRS Consortium.

Among the key conditions are compensating more than 900 fishermen with low-cost houses in the Bayan Lepas area, planting artificial corals to sustain the marine ecosystem around the islands, and sourcing the sand for the reclamation from legitimate sites.

Sources told The Star that SRS Consortium would start reclaiming the first island measuring 930ha in the first quarter of 2020. It will take about three years to complete the first island. The cost to reclaim is about RM60 per square foot.

SRS Consortium will call for a tender to reclaim the three islands in the third quarter of this year.

Sources said the state government would sell some state land via an open tender exercise, while SRS Consortium will internally generate the seed funds to raise about RM2bil to start the reclamation of the first island.

The reclamation for the second and third island will commence when SRS has raised sufficient funds from the sale of the reclaimed land. For serving as the project delivery partner, SRS Consortium will be paid a 6% fee based on the RM46bil construction cost.

However, the state government is negotiating with SRS to reduce it.

More than RM70bil is expected to be raised from the sale of the three man-made islands, enough to spearhead the state’s economic development for the next 30 years.

About 75% of the three islands are for sale via open tender.

Some RM46bil from the targeted revenue will be used for the construction of the RM9bil light rail transit (LRT) line, the RM9.6bil Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1), and other supporting infrastructure projects under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).fina

Presently, the price of industrial land on Penang island is around RM70psf-RM200psf, depending on its status as leasehold or freehold land. However, as the industrial lots on the proposed man-made island are freehold land, the pricing is about RM200psf.

When the reclamation of the islands starts in 2020, there could be a 10% appreciation.

On the three islands – Island A (930ha), Island B (445ha) and Island C (323ha) – the plan is to construct a dam and three power plants for the islands and develop industrial, residential properties and state government administrative buildings.

Chow was earlier quoted as saying that Island A is seen as a continuation and expansion of the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) while Island B will be “a playground for city planners and architects to give their best design” with a tram system and green spaces.

Island C is meant for a mixed development project.

Source link 

Read more:

Chow: Work on second phase of PSR has begun – Nation

https://youtu.be/TrfcwvrcG14

The above Video is about Penang South Reclamation (PSR).  We thank Prof. Dato’ Dr Zubir and Puan Zuraini for coming forward to explain the actual situation at Penang south.  Prof. Zubir is an expert on marine science and the former Director of Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia. He shares about his study at the PSR area and his survey among the fishermen.   Puan Zuraini is the officer at Pusat Perkhidmatan Setempat Nelayan at Penang south. Drawing from her own upbringing as a daughter of fisherman, she shares about her engagement with local fishermen in PSR area who are hoping that the project will provide job opportunities to them and bring development to the rural area.

 

Related posts:

It’s time for Penang to reinvent itself; RM70bil to be raised from the 3
man-made islands to finance LRT, PIL infrastruture under PTMP

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It’s time for Penang to reinvent itself; RM70bil to be raised from the 3 man-made islands to finance LRT, PIL infrastruture under PTMP


Looking ahead: An aerial view of Penang’s Free Industrial Zone. Penang
is banking on land reclamation to the south of the island to help fund
the state’s economic development.

ALMOST three decades ago, my then news editor Nizam Mohamad tried to convince me to work in Kuala Lumpur instead of remaining content in Penang, but like most Penangites, I enjoyed the slower pace of life on the island.

The food was good, the beach was marvellous, and I could be with my sweetheart, now my wife. I had my friends, who were my schoolmates, and my family members.

Finally, when the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit was held in KL in 1990, Nizam asked me to “help out with the coverage”.

When I reported for duty, he handed me my transfer letter on the spot. It was as simple as that, and I remember he told me that “you would go nowhere if you remain in Penang”.

For decades, skills migration and brain drain, and the lack of high-quality job opportunities, has been Penang’s Achilles heel.

Shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo wouldn’t have become a world icon had he remained in George Town. The same fate could have befallen sports personalities Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Datuk Nicol David had they, too, not moved to KL.

Munich-based Datuk Ooi Chean See would have no renowned orchestra to conduct if she were still in Penang, and Hong Kong-based fund manager, Datuk Seri Cheah Cheng Hye, wouldn’t be a billionaire had he stayed put in the state.

Nizam was right, and I am thankful for his foresight. Like many of my fellow islanders, our careers have moved up and onwards since moving to the nation’s capital, given its greater opportunities.

Penangites, many of whom now work outside the state, generally also lack properties in the state because we no longer live there. The rental yield simply doesn’t make business sense for investment.

The truth is, Penang is stagnating and hasn’t been able to reinvent itself. The state remains dependent on the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector. Putting it more accurately, with a GDP of RM80bil, half of Penang’s economy is reliant on this sector with the other half on tourism and the services industry.

Despite having achieved a high growth rate of 11% per annum between 1970 and 2008, growing from RM790mil in 1970 to RM49bil in 2008, GDP growth rate has slowed down to 5% for the past 10 years.

The past decade also saw GDP per capita easing off to 4% per annum, and with inflation at 3% per annum, the standard of living for Penangites has been on the decline, relative to the past four decades.

Growing up on the island, where I spent much time at the Batu Ferringhi beaches, we all know why it’s now hard for Penang to compete against the likes of Bali, Phuket and Koh Lipe as its beaches and water have simply lost their lustre.

Penang can no longer call itself the “The Pearl Of The Orient” or even “Penang Leads”, a tagline locals revelled in during the era of then Chief Minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu.

The state is losing ground in tourism, especially with it having not invested sufficiently in this sector, a situation compounded by how cities around the world are reinventing themselves.

In the E&E sector, we are trapped between China and Vietnam, two fast-moving low-cost locations, while Singapore and Taiwan portray highly skilled research and design centres. Basically, we’ve lost out on both ends.

More discouraging is how Penang, especially the island side with its premium value, has run out of land for safe development, open spaces and infrastructure.

Much of the state’s people are unaware that almost 40% of Penang’s land is classified as Class III or above. This classification means that the terrain is sloped at more than 25 degrees, measured from a horizontal plane.

These are the foliaged hilly and sloppy terrains subjected to undue pressure from hillside developments. Recent catastrophes of landslides, floods and fatalities remain etched in our minds.

It has become increasingly difficult to buy homes on the island, and it’s common knowledge how rich Singaporeans have snapped up the pre-war homes in heritage sites there for a song.

As land becomes scarcer, the manufacturing and services sector will not be able to grow and will remain stunted.

That could all change soon with the state and federal governments now under the rule of the same political coalition. The state needs to accelerate its inevitable transformation which will fundamentally change the way Penangites live and work, and it needs to embrace digital economy, globalisation and urbanisation. To put it succinctly, Penang must brand itself a Smart City.

In other countries, there is always a second city – Beijing and Shanghai, Sydney and Melbourne, Hanoi and Ho Chin Minh, New York and Los Angeles. However, George Town has never been able to capture the second city status (partnering KL), and it must now compete with Johor Baru for that prestigious identity. Penang has severely lagged.

Understandably, most Penangites are averse to change. Putting up buildings doesn’t mean development, and besides, no one comes to Penang to see skyscrapers. The quality of life is important, and it’s fortunate that Penang has a vibrant civil society.

The non-governmental organisations are alert and outspoken, and that’s what a mature democracy should be like – keeping a close eye on politicians.

But Penang can’t remain stagnant, so it needs land. All around the world, land reclamation is a norm. Just look at Singapore and Hong Kong. Manhattan wouldn’t exist if New York didn’t add land to it. And if Johor hadn’t done the same, Singaporeans can see Johoreans from their flats, as they reclaim without any debates.

“Location, location, location” is the mantra of land developers. The plan to create three man-made islands, totalling 1,821ha (4,500 acres) under the Penang South Reclamation Scheme (PSR) is proof of heading in the right direction. The RM70bil deal involves the construction of the RM9bil rail transit (LRT) line, the RM9.6bil Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1) and other supporting infrastructure projects under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). see more below …

Land may be in abundance on the mainland, but the island is the preferred choice, because in terms of value, it has always fetched higher prices. Having the three islands next to the Bayan Lepas Industrial Zone, the Penang International Airport and the Second Penang Bridge is the right thing to do.

Malaysia’s E&E industry is centred in Bayan Lepas, contributing RM120bil in exports, and these islands will help boost this crucial sector further, and encourage Penang to reinvent itself as a digital economy.

A properly planned transport link is long overdue. For years, I have made it a point to return to Penang for the reunion dinner days ahead of Chinese New Year, simply because I can no longer handle the stress of traffic jams on the island.

The final straw was when a jaga kereta boy demanded RM10 for my car, which was parked near Kek Lok Si temple where my wife used to live, because “you have a KL number plate” and “you are not a Penangite”.

Although Penang was the first state in Malaya to introduce a tram system (in the 1880s), the streets there are simply too narrow. So, while it sounds good in theory, it’s just not practical.

Going above the streets – like what modern rails do – is the right thing, and such an “elevated” move will remove the chaos each time it rains and transforms George Town into a huge canal.

The bottom line is, the E&E sector is stagnant, tourism earnings have reduced, Penang isn’t on the global business map, traffic congestion is horrendous, housing on the island is unsustainable and worse, the best brains will not come to Penang for career advancement.

You can have investments, but it doesn’t make sense if the best talents are not attracted to work in the state. There is only so much char koay teow one can eat in Penang.

It’s no good for Penang to be a pick for expatriate retirees. Instead, we need it to be a choice for the workforce, both Malaysian and foreign, from the knowledge economy, supporting services, manufacturing and renewed tourism industries. Penang must move up the value chain to reclaim its lost stature of “Penang Leads”.

By Wong Chun Wai – comment The Star

RM70bil will be flowing in from here 

 

Penang can expect to raise over RM70bil through projects

This is the plan – set up three man-made islands under the Penang South Reclamation Scheme and then, rake in enough to finance the state’s economic development for the next 30 years.

GEORGE TOWN: Over RM70bil is expected to be raised from the three man-made islands under the Penang South Reclamation Scheme (PSR), enough to spearhead the state’s economic development for the next 30 years.

Sources told The Star that out of the more than RM70bil, about RM46bil would be used for the construction of the RM9bil light rail transit (LRT) line, the RM9.6bil Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1), and other supporting infrastructure projects under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

According to a prominent Penang developer, the present price of industrial land on the island would be around RM70-RM200psf, depending on its status as leasehold or freehold land.

Because the industrial lots on the island are freehold land, the pricing is around RM20psf.

“When the reclamation of the islands starts in 2020, there could be at a 10% appreciation. The island will be sold via an open tender process,” he said.

It will take at least six years for the reclamation, which will be done in stages, to be completed.

It was previously reported that sources had said that about 75% of the three islands were for sale, with some 30% of the enquiries received so far being for industrial land.

When contacted, a local manufacturing company said it would be interested to bid for the lots once an open tender was called.

“There’s currently a slowdown in the manufacturing sector. When the reclamation is done, the global economy should also see a recovery,” said its spokesman.

The National Physical Planning Council is expected to approve the reclamation of the three islands, totalling 1,821ha (4,500acres), before the end of this month.

The SRS Consortium – a 60:20:20 joint venture involving Gamuda Bhd, Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd and Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd – is the project delivery partner, appointed by the state government to oversee the implementation of the LRT, PIL 1 and PSR scheme, components of the PTMP.

It was also earlier reported that the tender to reclaim the island would be out in the third quarter of this year.

Island A will house industrial projects – which lots will be developed for sale to foreign and local investors to generate funds for PTMP – and residential development, while Island B will accommodate the state administrative offices and commercial properties.

Residential properties will be developed on Island C.

The LRT is an integrated transport solution comprising a monorail link, cable cars and water taxis to solve traffic congestion in Penang while the 19.5km PIL highway project connects Gurney Drive to the Penang International Airport.

The LRT begins from Komtar in the northeast corner of the island and passes through Jelutong, Gelugor, Bayan Lepas and the airport before ending at Island B.  – The Star

Read more  

 

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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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.

自去年2017年6月发布以来,前来株洲所考察智轨列车的团体超过150批次,其中包括美国、英国、新加坡、新西兰、巴西等国家的20余个海外城市。

槟城,您还在等什么。还要LRT等七年,堵七年吗?


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

 

Related:

 

Penang mulls China-designed railless train to ease traffic woes | The …

 

No rail, just road: Group wants Penang to consider new tram system …


 

Penang Forum now proposes the ART system… – Chow Kon Yeow 曹觀友 …

 

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Penang Forum calls to review Penang mega projects

 

Go-ahead likely for Penang LRT


GEORGE TOWN: The approvals from the federal authorities for the RM8.4bil Bayan Lepas light rail transit (LRT) and the massive Penang South Reclamation (PSR) scheme on the southern coast of the island are expected to be obtained before the end of the year.

Sources told The Star that the approvals would be from the Department of Environment, the federal regulator overseeing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and the Transport Ministry.

The sources said if everything goes on as scheduled, the reclamation project for the three man-made islands would start early next year.

“The LRT project might begin in January 2020,” they said.

The LRT, together with a monorail, cable cars and water taxis, is part of the state government’s RM46bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

It will begin from Komtar in the northeast corner of the island and pass through Jelutong, Gelugor, Bayan Lepas and Penang International Airport before ending at the proposed PSR development comprising three man-made islands totalling 1,800ha near Teluk Kumbar.

It is expected to provide a fast route to the airport and will traverse densely populated residential, commercial and industrial areas.

There are 27 LRT stations along the alignment, with the maintenance depot located on the first island that is to be reclaimed on the island’s south coast.

The alignment also factors in interchanges with future LRT, Sky Cab and monorail lines that are being planned, including one that will cross the channel to connect Gelugor on the island with the Penang Sentral transport hub in mainland Butterworth. The success of the PTMP depends on funding from property development on the PSR scheme.

The Pan Island Link (PIL) 1 is another component which came to light recently as its Detailed EIA was on display at 10 locations in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Penang until yesterday.

The proposed 19.5km highway links Gurney Drive to the Penang International Airport.

SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd, the Project Delivery Partner (PDP), will call for the tender of the LRT and PSR via a Request for Proposal (RFP) exercise early next year, the sources said.

SRS’s role is to supervise the projects until their completion and scale down the cost.

It is learnt that there are currently six or seven companies interested in carrying out the LRT project and the reclamation work for the islands.

“SRS will scale down the cost of the urban rail transport link connecting Komtar and Bayan Lepas, and also consider alternative proposals such as a monorail,” said sources.

It is learnt that Scomi Engineering has recently proposed a monorail project costing about RM6bil, to the state government.

A China company has also proposed to build a LRT link costing less than RM6bil.

On the three man-made islands, it is said that more than RM4bil would be spent on the reclamation.

“The cost is estimated to be over RM4bil because there will be a need to construct a dam and three power plants for the islands.

“One of the islands will be used for indus­trial activities. There will be industrial lots developed for sale to overseas and local investors to generate funds for the urban rail transport link.

“The other two islands will be used for building commercial and residential properties,” sources explained, adding that about RM17bil, which includes the cost for the LRT and PIL 1, has been approved.

On the viability of trams as an alternative to LRT, the sources said the move would require relocating underground sewage infrastructure, power and telecommunications cables.

“They have to be relocated because laying the rails for trams involves a lot of costly road digging. The LRT is constructed on an elevated platform and does not involve digging into the ground.

“Furthermore, the roads in Penang are narrow, so using trams with other vehicles on the same road could cause accidents,” a source added.

SRS Consortium, a 60:20:20 joint venture involving Gamuda Bhd, Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd and Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd, was appointed by the Penang government as the PDP for the implementation of the PTMP.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said he has written a letter to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on June 29 to seek funds for the LRT project.

“We have yet to receive a reply.

“If the South island reclamation projects are not carried out, the state has no choice but to seek federal funds for the LRT,” he said during his speech at the state assembly yesterday.

Chow had earlier said the major components of PTMP would be fully funded by revenues generated from the sale of reclaimed land of the PSR project.

He said the fully funded nature of the components – the LRT and the PIL 1 – was unlike any other mega infrastructure projects currently being critically reviewed by the Council of Eminent Persons.

The SRS Consortium was concluded to have the best overall proposal among six local and international bidders, which were evaluated based on qualities such as transport master plan proposal, delivery track record, financial standing and funding/business models.

By David Tan The Star

Related story:

Penang undersea tunnel developer CZC ‘duped into paying RM22mil’ at gun point?


GEORGE TOWN: The developer of the Penang undersea tunnel project claims it was duped into paying two individuals RM22mil to stop graft investigations.

Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd (CZC) senior executive director Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli (pic) said they were told that action would be taken against them if they did not pay.

“They (the duo) claimed to be the powers that be. Eventually, we found out it was not true. We were conned,” he said.

He said the company had previously followed all the rules.

“But at that particular period of time, we didn’t know what was the rule of law. It’s not bribery but the act was akin to putting a gun to my head,” he said.

Zarul Ahmad said he could not disclose the details because the case was still being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“I believe soon they will come out with something pertaining to those issues,” he said.

Zarul Ahmad said things were different now after the outcome of GE14 on May 9.

“On May 10, I opened my window and I took a nice breath of fresh air and it was wonderful.

“Last time, I couldn’t answer certain things but now, I can because there is freedom of speech. I know I won’t get into trouble for making statements that I want to make,” he said at a hotel here yesterday.

In March, a 37-year-old Datuk Seri was picked up by MACC for allegedly receiving RM19mil from CZC to “help settle” investigations into the controversial RM6.3bil mega project comprising an undersea tunnel and three highways.

Former chief minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government was shocked at the news that CZC allegedly paid RM19mil to an unnamed businessman and RM3mil to an MP.

Zarul Ahmad said they had provided an explanation about the incident which was accepted by the Penang government two weeks ago.

CZC, the special purpose vehicle of the Penang project, had come under the spotlight after its two senior directors were picked up to assist in MACC investigations over alleged corruption claims.

MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong had raised numerous concerns about the project, including why the special pur­pose vehicle did not meet the RM381mil minimum paid-up capital requirement during the tender process.

Zarul Ahmad said they were adopting the just-in-time (JiT) philosophy, meaning the paid-up capital would only be increased when necessary.

He said 90% of the financing was done through the banks and they did not want to incur interests for nothing.

“That is the only way to reduce our cost and maximise returns.

“Why should we increase our paid-up capital to RM300mil or 400mil when we are only using a certain amount,” he said.

By Tan Sin Chow and Saran Yeoh The Star
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Penang Forum calls to review Penang mega projects


Penang Forum members paying a courtesy call on Chow, seated at the head of the table, at his office in Komtar.

Revise transport master plan because circumstances have changed

” A new public transport design has to be integrated to encourage walking, cycling and bus uise – Penang Forum”

THE Penang Forum steering committee, a loose coalition of non-political civil society groups, has called on the Pakatan Harapan Penang government to review the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) estimated to cost RM46bil.

It said the Penang government should bear in mind its election manifesto of balancing economic growth with environmental protection and a commitment to improve public transport.

“Given the scale of the funding for this mega project, the state must ensure government procurement produces the best value for taxpayers’ money.

“The awarding process used was based on a Request for Proposal, rather than a true open tender, which did not allow for any meaningful comparison of bid documents as the scope of work was not fixed.

“Hence the award process must also be reviewed and revisited,” the statement read.

The committee also pointed out that the present PTMP was based on the assumption that buses, ferries and a cross-channel bridge were under federal control and there was nothing much the state could do.

“So it did not focus on how these could be improved or expanded. But now that circumstances have changed, the plan needs to be revised,” it said.

The committee also said the planning for equitable public transport should take into consideration the following criteria:

  • Fiscal prudence that should consider cost-effectiveness in construction, operation and maintenance.Detailed financial analysis of different public transport systems must be done and compared. The most cost-effective system should be selected.
  • Other important considerations are efficiency of operation, predictable schedules and systems compatibility.
  • The different components of the transport system must be well connected and integrated, socially inclusive, with a low impact on the built and natural environment.
  • Extensive public consultation at every stage, with plans available for online viewing and download so that more people can view and comment. It must be carried out and the exercise must be open to scrutiny.
  • Independent consultants who are at the forefront of designing equitable, sustainable transport must be engaged to do the review of the plans. They must not be associated with or employed by parties involved in tendering for the project.

The statement also read that the 2016 transport proposal was a mega project put forward by SRS Consortium, the project delivery partner of PTMP, to the Penang government.

“The design and planning fails to meet most of the above criteria.

“The overpriced package includes many components of mega road building that will discourage people from using public transport and undermine the stated goal of increasing public modal share of transport.

“Although public consultations have been held about impacts in specific localities, open scrutiny of the whole design was strongly discouraged,” the statement said.

The committee also said the original PTMP by Halcrow involved public consultation, but the state pressured the consultants to add the undersea tunnel and three highways costing a total of RM6.3bil just before it adopted the plan in 2013.

The SRS proposal costing RM46bil includes a proposal to reclaim 4,500 acres of land (comprising three islands). It departs drastically from the officially adopted 2013 Halcrow masterplan.

“Thus, a thorough, proper and independent review should be carried out to ascertain its suitability, viability and sustainability.

“The massive proposed reclamation will destroy fishing grounds and jeopardise fishing livelihoods and a vital local source of seafood.

“It will be environmentally unsustainable due to expensive maintenance costs required for dredging in the future.

“Promise 10 of the Pakatan manifesto talks of ensuring food security and protecting the welfare of farmers and fishermen.

“Last but not the least, with rapid changes in public transport technology and new trends in info-mobility, it is imperative that any existing plan for public transport should be re-examined.

“A new public transport design has to be integrated to encourage walking, cycling and bus use,” it said.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow was earlier reported saying that the state government would leave the decision to review the components of the PTMP to the Federal Government.

He said this was because the proposal was at the Federal level right now, adding that if there was any need to review the project, the Federal Government could make a decision.

He also said the SRS Consortium would be happy to supply the Federal agencies with additional details. – Starmetro

 

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