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Misperception clouding Penang Forum’s view of transport plan

Misperception clouding Penang Forum’s view of transport plan

Published by Free Malaysia Today• 01/04/2021• 11:21 pm

From Joshua Woo Sze Zeng


The Penang Forum steering committee’s statement about the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), published by Free Malaysia Today today, has again misled the public by alleging that the project has failed because it involves land reclamation through a joint-venture (JV).


As often announced by Penang state officials, the reclamation is part of the financing method for PTMP.


The federal government has not been forthcoming in offering financial grants to fund the PTMP. The loan guarantee to build the Light Rail Transit (LRT) has also been cancelled by Putrajaya.


In order to build a reliable public transport system in Penang, the state government has to find ways to kick-start the project.


Forming a JV company to begin the planned land reclamation work is a huge step towards realising the PTMP, which unfortunately had been misperceived by Penang Forum.


Nevertheless, misperception is not alien to Penang Forum.


When the PTMP included the LRT line, BRT line, and monorail line to provide a better public transport system at Seberang Perai, the Penang Forum misperceived it as cost inflation.


When the Penang government used request-for-proposal (RFP) to call for tender – the same procurement method employed and recognised as open tender by the United Nations, World Bank, and the World Health Organization – the Penang Forum claimed that the RFP was not an open tender.


When the world’s foremost authoritative organisation on climate change, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that “land reclamation is mature and effective technology and can provide predictable levels of safety” (Special Report On The Ocean and Cryosphere In A Changing Climate) to fund climate adaptation projects, the Penang Forum protested against reclamation, denying it as climate action.


With such a track record of misperception, and in view of Penang Forum’s recent statement on PTMP, one wonders if the group has completely lost it?


Joshua Woo Sze Zeng is a former councillor with the Seberang Perai Council.


The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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