It is up to Penangites to accept or reject the state’s RM27bil Transport Master Plan (TMP), said Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
“The people of Penang will make the final decision and if they choose to reject the RM27bil TMP, in accordance with democratic principles, we will accept their decision. We are willing to fail trying than fail to try.”
Lim said the state government understood the concerns over the scale and scope of the RM27bil TMP but stressed that the masterplan was for the entire state and was not island-centric.
“We can allay such concerns about the TMP by conducting open competitive tenders, giving full disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act, and public hearings to gain public feedback before we decide whether or not to proceed.”
Lim said the need for heavy investment in public transportation and infrastructure was necessary to prevent traffic congestion due to accidents and during holidays.
He underscored the point by highlighting the huge traffic jam caused after a car overturned on the Penang Bridge on Friday.
“The accident on the first Penang Bridge underlines the importance of the proposed underseabed tunnel and cable car.
“Traffic congestion due to accidents and during the holidays will be a regular feature as Penang emerges as a regional and national tourist, services and manufacturing hub.
“If we do not want traffic congestion to be a regular feature, we have no choice but to take the initiative to do a comprehensive public transport system on our own that involves both the mainland and the island, and not just only the island,” he said in a press statement.
He said concerns had also been expressed over the need for the state to adopt a 5-in-1 solution involving buses, taxis, LRT/monorail, water taxis/ferries and cable car.
“To improve connectivity, we must try to have as many links as possible between both the mainland and the island to reduce traffic bottlenecks,” he said.
“We must look at moving people instead of moving vehicles. There is no doubt that an efficient public transport will benefit the poor more than the rich.
“Investing in the future is not about investing in building a new underground city but investing in people, education and public transport,” he said. - By The Star