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Nascent hope for Penang’s development under Anwar’s govt?

Nascent hope for Penang’s development under Anwar’s govt?

Published by theVibes • 15/4/2023

by Ian McIntyre

GEORGE TOWN – Penang is now getting prompt attention from the federal government after close to a decade of being sidelined because the state was then deemed to be in opposition hands.


Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has revealed that he is optimistic that mega-projects deemed crucial for Penang would now receive the blessings and support from Putrajaya, now being under the Pakatan Harapan-led unity government.


Elaborating on the meeting between the state and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the UiTM campus in Permatang Pauh yesterday, Chow said that the state tabled three projects.


The ideas – on the Perak water transfer scheme and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) – are believed to have been received warmly by Anwar.


Chow said that he had briefed Anwar on a proposed scheme to transfer freshwater from Perak, citing that there is a need for urgent attention on this matter.


This is because a forecast on water shortage drawn up earlier was proven to be inaccurate due to the rapid development rate that Penang enjoyed in the past decade, he said.


The projection in 2009 that Penang will be facing an acute water shortage three decades later is flawed.


“It is earlier than what was anticipated,” Chow said, adding that the water transfer scheme was supposed to be ready as an alternative water supply resource by 2030.


Penang was made to understand that Anwar agrees with the notion that water resources should be shared by all neighbouring states as it can help the country progress, said Chow.


The second is the proposed Penang LRT project, which could span 30km between the Komtar area and the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas.


It is the main component of the ambitious RM30 billion Penang Transport Master Plan, with the aim of alleviating the worsening congestion here.


Chow said that Anwar was informed that the state authorities are keen if this is taken up as a federal project and allocated under the federal fiscal budget.


The second option is to appoint MRT Corp Bhd to construct the project in Penang since it has experience in the Klang Valley.


Third is the status quo where the LRT project will be tendered out to the private sector in Penang, with the state having to issue security bonds and act as a guarantor to ensure that the project can progress, said Chow after attending the annual Thai Songkran festival,which was held at the Hin Bus Depot here.


The event was co-organised with Thailand’s Tourism Authority.


Chow said that Penang prefers if the LRT becomes a federal project so it can be fast-tracked.


He also revealed that Penang had discussed with Anwar about the rolling out of projects under the 12th Malaysia Plan.


The Penang Water Authority Holdings had cited seven main reasons why the scheme is the most rational one to ensure sustainable water supply for both Penang and its neighbour Perak.


Sg Perak is an existing raw water resource that is under-utilised. It is being used by Tenaga Nasional Bhd to generate hydroelectric power.


The scheme is about abstracting water from this river for potable use in Perak. However, a significant amount of its raw water is just flowing from the mountains into the sea.


“The raw water may be put into good use in Penang and northern Perak, and it is one raw water scheme that will benefit two states: Penang and Perak.”


The scheme involves pumping raw water from Sg Perak to be treated in Penang for resupply to Penang and northern Perak. – The Vibes, April 15, 2023

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