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May 15, 2019 | Ramadan 10, 1440

1. The state government’s determination to go ahead with the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project is increasingly suspicious and doubful due to the failure to fulfill many criteria related to transparent and competency. Including not giving satisfactory explanation not only to the media, but also at the recent State Assembly.

2. Chief Minister, Chow Kon Yeow seems to be reading out a script prepared ‘behind-the-scenes’, while Deputy Chief Minister, Dr P Ramasamy continues to bounce back and forth with his emotional stance. At the same time, the constrained time frame for conducting general publicity for the public review of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which makes it difficult to give feedback.

3. The public object to the PSR because of the great risks and negative impacts compared to the benefits it brings. It needs a very high cost for each component of the project, including the cost of the reclamation which is more than RM80 per square foot. This is more than twice the price the costs of reclamation in Melaka. It is also more expensive than reclamation in Johor.

4. Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) will be the most expensive highway project in Malaysia at almost RM500 million per kilometer. A few years ago, the KIDEX Highway was cancelled because it was potentially most expensive highway in Malaysia at RM161 million. With the cost of maintaining is more than RM65 million a year, the state’s finances are impossible to make it toll free. Will Penang residents be deceived by the DAP again?

5. Similarly, the Bayan Lepas LRT (Light Rail Transit) project requires a capital of up to RM9 billion and operating costs of RM170 million per year, if not more. As has been argued in the newspapers, the ridership forecast is highly inflated. Expectations of 42 million users a year or equivalent to 116,000 a day. Whereas Ampang’s LRT – the busiest in Kuala Lumpur – has just reached 61 million users after 19 years.

6. Is the projection of a very high traffic flow on the island accurate? The entire Penang Transport Masterplan (PTMP) segment will be a waste of resources because it will not solve the problem. On the other hand, it will exacerbate the pressure on the residents to face traffic jams.

7. Financial sustainability is also disputed as expenditure with revenue is in cash flow and timelines are inconsistent. This is because the cost for construction is immediate, whereas the most expensive sales revenue is long term. If the yield is less, the real estate market would have been badly affected as a result of property overhang.

8. In fact, the initial RM1 billion loan applied from the federal government is not enough to start the first phase of RM17 billion. What if the loan was not approved by the Central Government? Ironically, the application has shown that the financial incompetency of the parties involved.

9. It’s even worse than that as it is often announced to be ‘self-funded’ SRS Consortium as a developer. Most visible as a result of PSR; the poor will be evicted and the environment will be destroyed, plus issues of approval and vested interests. What the existing liabilities indicate is that these three component projects are actually not ‘transparent’, but ‘translucent’?

“Islam Leads”

Information Chief
Penang PAS’s Liaison Body
Penaga Assemblyman