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Penang LRT has more than 90pc support from public, says Kon Yeow

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

GEORGE TOWN, April 1 — The Penang Light Rail Transit (LRT) Mutiara Line project which is expected to start this September has received over 90 per cent in support from the public during engagement sessions, said Chow Kon Yeow.

The Penang chief minister said engagement sessions were held with the public including non-governmental organisations (NGO) to obtain their feedback on the RM10.5 billion project.

“During the engagement sessions, we have received support of more than 90 per cent from the public and all views submitted were also taken into consideration,” he said in a press conference at his office today.

He was responding to Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s (SAM) criticisms on the implementation of the project that could prove detrimental to the environment aside from incurring high costs.

Chow said the project had underwent various processes to obtain the necessary approvals before the federal government decided to take over the project from the state.

On the matter of costs, he said the RM10.5billion announced by the Transport Ministry is only the budget approved for the project and it is only an estimation.

“The final costs will be determined when the agreement is finalised and it will also need to take into account the design, the systems and the types of trains used,” he said.

He said the thousands and millions of man hours wasted in traffic congestion is also a cost to the people and social economy of the state.

“The LRT may not solve 100 per cent of the traffic jams in Penang but it is a start,” he said.

He said a single project cannot solve traffic congestion issues in the state as it would need a combination of various projects as proposed under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

“The PTMP is a concept so it will still need to be fine tuned during implementation which is dependent on design and land acquisition,” he said.

He said the people will have to pay the “costs” of being stuck in traffic congestion if the state does not have effective and efficient public transportation and road network systems.

“We have been through a long process for this project so we hope the NGOs that are still opposed to this will look at it in its entirety,” he said.

He said SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd, which will be building the first segment of the project, has the experience to ensure construction works on site can be done efficiently and effectively.

Gamuda owned 60 per cent shares of SRS and it is experienced in building several LRT and MRT projects in Klang Valley.

Chow believed that they will be able to arrange a traffic management plan at the construction site during implementation of the project.

“Any project may bring temporary inconvenience but once completed, it will benefit the public,” he said.

Putrajaya officially took over the LRT project after the Cabinet approved the development of the project on March 22.

Last week, Chow said the Pesta site in Sungai Nibong was identified as the depot location while the state has proposed for another depot to be built on Silicon Island.

Currently, a public display of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the LRT depot on Silicon Island is being held.

The LRT Mutiara line spans 29km connecting Silicon Island to Komtar and then crosses over to Penang Sentral in Seberang Perai.

The line is expected to have 20 stations with two interchange stations at Komtar and Penang Sentral.

It will also connect to Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) Komuter and the Electric Train Service (ETS) services at Penang Sentral.