01 Feb No need to review PTMP mega project, Penang govt tells NGOs
Published by New Straits Times • 9/12/ 2022
Zairil was commenting on a group of Penang NGOs which had urged Anwar to review all mega
projects, which involve billions of ringgit of public funds. – NSTP/MIKAIL ONG
GEORGE TOWN: There is no need for any review of the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) mega-project, the Penang government said.
State Infrastructure and Transportation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said it was obvious that several non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to review all mega projects involving billions of ringgit of public funds, might not be good in their understanding of the economy.
Zairil said that such call was nothing new.
He said it was more reason for the government to spend, especially during global recession.
“This will create spillover economic effects.
“The state needs to invest in this very much-needed infrastructure project to create more jobs and generate more economic activities to contribute to the growth of the GDP,” he said.
He was commenting on a group of Penang NGOs which had urged Anwar to review all mega projects, which involve billions of ringgit of public funds.
Penang Forum, the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and allied civil societies said that these included the bloated PTMP mega-project costing a colossal RM46 billion.
Penang Forum steering committee member Dr Lim Mah Hui, in congratulating Anwar on becoming the prime minister, said he had set the tone for his new administration by commendably shunning extravagant spending, especially in his choice of official car, saving the government a large sum of money.
He said Anwar had also trimmed ministerial pay and slimmed down the Cabinet to reflect the new administration’s commitment to financial prudence.
Lim also said in order to put an end to the argument over who was right – the Penang government (in wanting to push ahead with the PTMP) or the Penang NGO (which was against the PTMP) – they proposed that the federal government engaged international experts on sustainable mobility to review the bloated PTMP.
He said one such body that could be roped in was the non-profit Institute of
Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) based in New York, which had
considerable expertise in looking at sustainable mobility solutions.
Zairil said the issue of engaging international experts does not arise as they had indeed appointed international consultant for the PTMP project.
He said it must be understood that the proposals in the PTMP was first made 10 years ago.
“We may not necessarily follow the proposal wholly. It will depend on the current scenario.
“When we want to implement the proposal, we will carry out further studies to determine the feasibility first,” he added.