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GEORGE TOWN: It will be a financial burden for Penang if it decides to take loans from the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM) to finance the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) project, said Datuk Shah Headan Ayub Hussain Shah (BNTeluk Bahang). He said it would be a high risk loan as transportation is not known to be a profitable project anywhere in the world. "I don't see the logic in taking loans to finance the PTMP from EXIM," he told reporters in a press conference at the Penang State Legislative Assembly today. He cited Light Rail Transit (LRT) transportation services in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and the United States which operates at a loss. He said Penang with a population of about 700,000 will not be able to sustain the operation of the LRT which is one of the main components in the PTMP. "How can you get enough passengers to use the LRT? Even in a place like Hong Kong or Singapore it operates at a loss, how can Penang sustain it? Earlier, the State of Penang Loan (Bank and Other Financial Source) Enactment 2017 was passed at the state legislature.
The Sun Daily
5 hours
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will now be able to obtain loans from banks after the State of Penang Loan (Bank and Other Financial Source) Enactment 2017 was passed at the state legislature today. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng however said any loans taken needed the permission of the federal government and that the federal administration would never allow state governments to borrow from commercial banks. He said this new law was an “enabling legislation” to allow the state to take loans from the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM) for use in the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) project. He said this was a follow up move to a MOU between his administration and EXIM on Dec 16, 2014, to allow his administration to obtain loans from the bank for specific purposes. He said EXIM being interested in becoming a lender to the state government showed the financial management and standing was in good shape.
The Sun Daily
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In line with that, the matter of affordable housing has a high possibility of being debated, an issue close to the heart of many in land-scarce Penang, where related points of density, zoning and land use are constantly being talked about. Another subject is the RM27 billion the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), not so much the PTMP per se but the financial model of it, as three islands of the south coast of Penang island are proposed to be reclaimed to fund the massive project. Environmentalists, NGOs, fishermen and other parties have expressed their concerns over the massive reclamation project which is said to be sited on breeding grounds for marine life. Also on environmental topics is the fate the Pulau Jerejak, an island off the Penang coast, which used to be among others, a leprosy colony under the British colonial administration and a penal colony post-1969.
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GEORGE TOWN: Penang Gerakan is questioning why the state government needs to reclaim more land for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). Penang Gerakan state treasurer Ng Fook On (pix) said the state government's plan to carry out reclamation works of up to 18ha could result in profit of RM255 billion in terms of land value while the costs of reclamation work and the PTMP would amount to RM20 billion and RM27 billion respectively. He said therefore total profit obtained would be RM208 billion. "For the undersea tunnel project, the reclaimed land size of 44ha, would result in RM6.3 billion. "So, since the PTMP cost RM27 billion which is about five times the cost of the undersea tunnel, the total land that needs to be reclaimed should be only five times, which is 44ha, not 1821ha. "The total funds generated will be RM31 billion if it is 222ha of reclaimed land.
The Sun Daily
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GEORGE TOWN: Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for the disabled have expressed their concern over the state government's Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). Penang Accessibility Action Group (PAAG) member Dr Tiun Ling Ta started the ball rolling by raising his concern on the road shoulders should the PTMP materialise. The Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) councillor said it should be in the range of 1.5m to 1.8m for the disabled to ensure their safety when using the road. "It gives them convenience rather than walking along the roadside," he said at a press conference after the feedback session on PTMP for the disabled. Also present was SRS Consortium construction manager Julian Yeap. PAAG chairman Yap Soo Huey said needs and concerns throughout the section will be noted down. "We will pay attention to them and make sure that they are taken care off when planning for the Penang Transport Master Plan.
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GEORGE TOWN: Property and industrial groups today backed the implementation of the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) for the greater good. Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang Branch vice chairman KK Hun said the state needed to move forward or risk being left behind. He cited Malacca and Johor as examples of fast-moving economies and asked if people wanted their children to move out in search for jobs. “Do we want our children to move out and to leave behind old city?,” he asked in a press conference today after viewing the PTMP request for proposal (RFP) documents which are on public display until today (Feb 28) at the Dewan Sri Pinang. The PTMP is an ambitious project mooted by the state government to link Penang island and the mainland with a network of highways and rail based transport. SRS Consortium has been appointed the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) for the project where funding hinges on reclaiming some 1,618ha of land at the south coast of Penang island.
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GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has extended by six months the validity period of the award letter for SRS Consortium, the project delivery partner (PDP), of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) project. The award letter was to expire by the end of this month but will now be valid until June to allow the PDP more time to obtain the necessary approvals from the relevant authorities. State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the state did not anticipate the long time needed in getting the approvals. "This is just a technicality and we will continue to extend the award letter until they obtain the necessary approvals from the various authorities for the project," he said in a press conference yesterday when asked about the issue. The RM27 billion PTMP is an ambitious undertaking to link Penang Island and the mainland with rail transit systems, new highways, trams, rapid bus routes and water taxis.
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GEORGE TOWN: Roger Teoh the PhD candidate at the Centre for Transport Studies in Imperial College London who resigned from DAP last year has made a U-turn on his resignation. In the latest political twist in the beginning of the year, Teoh said he decided to withdraw his resignation after a constructive discussion with the Penang top leadership. When contacted by theSun, Teoh confirmed his decision and said he decided to rejoin the party after a direct communication channel within the DAP had been established for him to voice his concerns on the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). "Following the constructive discussion with the Penang top leadership, as well as establishing a direct communication channel within the party to voice out my concern on PTMP, a decision has been reached for me to withdraw my resignation from the party", he said in a statement today.
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GEORGE TOWN: The Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) has slammed the DAP state government for going ahead with the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) at the expense of the fishermen. Its chairman, Datuk Seri Irmohizam Ibrahim said the Penang government was being arrogant despite Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports that it would harm the environment and the livelihood of fishermen. "Compensation in exchange for the environment is not a smart move on the part of the Penang DAP state government. This proves the state government does not really care for the fate of the fishermen. "The fisherman have sacrificed a lot to provide a source of protein to Malaysians and marine life in Permatang Damar Laut is the source of their livelihood," he said in a statement today. Irmohizam said the PTMP project will certainly affect the lives of fishermen, particularly those in Kampung Sungai Batu as they depend heavily on marine resources there.
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GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will make public the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) documents next year. State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow (pix) said all 20 volumes will be made available for public viewing. He said the documents were the Request for Proposal (RFP) submitted by SRS Consortium which won the bid and was appointed as the PTMP project delivery partner (PDP). He said the documents will be placed in Komtar, the state government administrative office, sometime early next year and that there were no plans to put them online due to the volume involved. Chow also pointed out that the documents were available to Penang Transport Council (PTC) members. "I will fulfill my promise to open the RFP documents," he added after visiting the Lebuh Campbell market yesterday. The PTMP has been under the spotlight after critics accused the state of not being transparent over the developments.
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GEORGE TOWN: The DAP today accepted the resignation of Roger Teoh, a PHD candidate at the Centre for Transport Studies in Imperial College London. Teoh, in an exclusive interview with theSun said his request for resignation was accepted in less than 24 hours after he tendered it. He said he is relieved that he finally can speak the truth for the Penang people to make an accurate judgement on the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). "Personally speaking, I think Penang needs a check and balance. "DAP has been in power for over eight years without any adequate opposition in the house which I think is unhealthy for Penang," he told theSun through a Facebook interview today. The 23-year-old PhD student who has been a party member for the last three years said the main reason for his resignation was based on his principles which is to make Malaysia a better place.
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GEORGE TOWN: Tanjung Bungah assemblyman Teh Yee Cheu (pix) has urged the state to freeze high-rise projects in his constituency until the review for the Penang Structure Plan (PSP) 2020 is completed. He said the review of the PSP is needed so that density issues can be addressed. He had raised his objections in the last review meeting of PSP which earmarked his constituency as a development corridor. Noting that what was needed was for more low-medium cost (LMC) housing units to be built, he urged the state government to mandate developers to build the approved LMC projects before continuing with their non-LMC developments. He told a press today that two LMC projects in his constituency had been approved and called for them to be quickly constructed. The PSP is being revised to take into account the land use of the three islands proposed to be reclaimed on the southern coast of Penang to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
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GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today defended his administration over the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) against criticisms. He said the PTMP was to ensure future generations are taken care off and that Penang will not lose out to regional competitors. Without naming names, he swiped at critics saying the PTMP was not for one or two "senang" (well-off or carefree) people but for the more than a million Penang residents. Taking the proposed light rail transit (LRT) project, a component of the PTMP, as an example, he said the project was to provide convenience to benefit the people. "We want to make things easier," he said in his speech at the opening of the RM1.87 million road upgrading project to link Jalan Bunga Hinai to Jalan Bunga Kaca Piring here. Lim said there was a delay in the project due to having to move 10 squatter families in the area even though the tender was awarded in 2012.
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GEORGE TOWN: NGO umbrella body Penang Forum is justified in requesting Unesco to conduct an assessment of the George Town Heritage Site as some components of the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) is near the heritage area. Spokesman Khoo Salma said they were worried the construction of a monorail and light rail transit (LRT) station at the proposed Sia Boey site in Prangin could affect the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) which gave George Town heritage status. She noted the station was located in an area near the heritage buffer zone (also know as a tertiary zone) which was a critical issue to address. Khoo expressed her shock over the criticisms received in wake of the request and said the state should instead welcome the assessment if there was no wrong. She said the state may be liable for compensation if Unesco found that projects under the PTMP endangered the site so an assessment should be done before the Penang government commits to a contract.
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GEORGE TOWN: Residents and visitors alike have urged those in charge to ensure the George Town Unesco heritage listing is not lost. Ali Mohd Ismail, 48, said the state cannot risk losing the listing due to the economic gains it can benefit from. He said George Town being listed as a heritage site has put Penang on the map and attracted local and overseas visitors. "If Penang loses this then Penangites are the ones who have lost," the contractor said when met recently. The Penang government and NGOs are at loggerheads after Penang Forum, an umbrella group of NGOs, forwarded their concerns to Unesco over the impact of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) on the site. This prompted fears that the listing is at risk but George Town World Heritage Inc general manager Ang Ming Chee reportedly toned down such fears as delisting was not easy. Ali Mohd urged the state and NGOs to resolve the situation and whatever issues they have amicably.
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GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (pix) today said Penang Forum's complaints to the Unesco World Heritage Centre in Paris was like a stab in the back. Lim expressed his regret and disappointment towards the Penang based civil society group for its action that bypassed the state and national authorities. He however stressed that the state government will do its best to protect the heritage status and slammed Penang Forum's move as another slander to the state administration. "We will fight to the last to protect what we have," he told reporters after launching a waste segregation programme at Taman Idaman in his state constituency of Air Putih. Lim questioned the action by the group and defended the state government's move to implement the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) outside the heritage area. "The Light Rail Transit (LRT) component of PTMP is outside the heritage zone, not inside.
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GEORGE TOWN: Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) appointed to the Penang Transport Council (PTC) have been urged to come up with concrete alternative proposals based on their insistence to have (road level) trams instead of elevated rail systems. State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the NGOs have started a signature campaign against elevated rail options. He said the terms of reference (TOR) to come up with an alternative financial architecture to fund the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) was not even completed but there was already a preconception that trams were better. He said the state government was not an adversary of the NGOs and thus have even showed the classified documents on the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) to them. "We want to put the record straight. We invited them to the PTC.