Group urges northern states to team up and coordinate for better transport and development plan

Opalyn Mok
Heavy traffic is seen on the North-South Highway (northbound) in Seberang Jaya June 4, 2019, on the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, June 12 — A non-governmental organisation today suggested that the four northern states should jointly come up with a comprehensive transport and development plan that benefit all states.

Yan Lee, of Citizen Awareness Chant Group, said there is already an existing statutory body — Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) — that can map out development plans for all four states.

He said at the moment, there is a lack of coordination as each state is launching its own plans such as Penang with its Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), Kedah with its Kulim International Airport and Perak with a few infrastructure plans of its own.

“We are not demanding but suggesting to the federal government that there is this vehicle, NCIA, that they can use,” he said.

Lee said the NCIA, which was formed in 2007, has been receiving funds but claimed that the body does not do much.

“We have only heard that there was a meeting for NCIA where the chief minister was quoted as saying he wants to add in the PTMP to the NCIA meeting,” he said.

Lee pointed out that NCIA played an important role in supporting the development of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER).

He said it would be the right body to support and coordinate the development and transport plans for all four states in the northern region.

“The four states can also get together and come up with a joint development plan and when they seek funding from the Finance Ministry, it would be easier for the ministry to approve funding of say RM100 million for all four states instead of RM100 million for each state,” he said.

He said NCIA can get assistance from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) to get a free consultation for a proper transport plan for the northern region.

He said the ITDP is a professional independent consultant that had set up transport plans around the world on a pro bono basis.

“The people behind our transport plan has to be an independent consultant, we can’t have developers planning out our transport master plan, of course, they would do what suits them,” he said.

Lee said only an independent consultant would be able to provide fair and suitable plans for the state.

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