05 May Penang in discussions with Putrajaya to fund its Bayan Lepas LRT project
Published by MalayMail • 30/3/2023
Penang’s Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the state is hoping to get funding from the federal government for the RM10 billion Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit project. — File picture by Sayuti Zainudin
GEORGE TOWN, March 30 — The Penang state government has put a request for a proposal (RFP) exercise for its Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (BLLRT) project on hold pending discussions with Putrajaya on funding for the project.
State Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the state has completed the pre-qualification registration exercise where companies were already shortlisted.
“We haven’t proceeded with the RFP as now the federal government has changed and we are currently in discussions with the federal government to get a new way forward for the project,” he said when contacted by Malay Mail.
He said the state is hoping to get funding from the federal government for the RM10 billion project.
He said all major urban rail projects are funded by the federal government so this project should also be federally funded.
The state held the pre-qualification registration exercise for the BLLRT project between July 25 and August 19 last year.
The state was supposed to call for an RFP early this year where only the companies that were shortlisted in the pre-qualification exercise can participate.
Zairil said if they were to call for an RFP and appoint a contractor now, the contractor will have a contractual expectation to implement the project and be paid for it.
“Plans change when circumstances change. So now with a friendly federal government, we hope to get some assistance,” he said.
The BLLRT is one of the major components of the state’s mega infrastructur project, Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
The BLLRT had obtained conditional approval with 30 prerequisites from the Ministry of Transport back in 2019.
The state had applied for RM10 billion funding for its RM46 billion PTMP project in 2019 under the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government.
The then PH government rejected the funding request but offered a government guarantee for a US$500 million (RM2 billion) loan application for Penang.
However, the government guarantee was cancelled in December 2020 after a change in the federal government.
The state had then looked at other models of financing for the PTMP and its components.
The state government applied for a final rail scheme approval for the BLLRT project on May 21, 2020.
According to a parliamentary reply by the Transport Ministry to an oral question by Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng, the final railway scheme approval could not be issued as it is pending approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project.
This is because a portion of the LRT line is on one of the reclaimed islands in the PSR.
The ministry said the final rail scheme approval will only be reconsidered after all approvals for the BLLRT such as the EIA for the PSR is approved.
“The construction of the BLLRT project can only start after the final rail scheme approval is obtained,” it said.
The PSR was first introduced back in 2015 as the funding module of the PTMP after SRS Consortium was appointed as the project delivery partner (PDP) for the project on August 14, 2015.
The PTMP is a comprehensive transport strategy for an integrated and modern transport framework that included public, private, land and sea transportation systems.
Two of the main components of the PTMP are the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1) and the BLLRT.
PIL1 is a 19.5km highway that is estimated to cost RM7.5 billion while the BLLRT stretches 29.5km with 27 stations and is now estimated to cost about RM10 billion.