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All you need to know about the Penang Transport Master Plan project

Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP)

1. What is the Penang Transport Master Plan?

PTMP is the Penang State Government’s long-term strategy to develop an integrated state-wide transport infrastructure for the benefits of the people.

2. What is PTMP for?

PTMP will:

  • Upgrade public transport system in Penang
  • Relieve present and prevent future traffic congestion
  • Reduce carbon emission
  • Lower travel expense
  • Reduce journey time
  • Create job opportunities
  • Provide various modes of transport

 

Without improvements to the current public transport infrastructure, road congestion will continue to deteriorate as Penang’s population increases. This will impact travel time and the overall quality of life in Penang.

3. Will the heritage sites in Penang be affected by the construction of the PTMP?

No, it will not. The Penang State Government recognises and values the importance of World Heritage Sites. To ensure the conservation of the architecture, culture and cityscape of the buildings in the George Town World Heritage Site, the proposed Bayan Lepas LRT and future transit lines will be aligned accordingly around the perimeter of the heritage site and buffer zone. In compliance with the heritage guidelines, the tram line within the World Heritage Site will be at-grade (on ground).

4. Can the “Request for Proposal” (RFP) method used by Penang State Government be considered an open tender?

Yes, RFP is an open tender procurement method used by international institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Health Organization. Federal bodies such as Bank Negara and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation also use RFP.

 

The appointment of Halcrow, AJC Planning, and Singapore’s Cruise Centre to conduct the initial study on the PTMP in 2010 was also tendered through RFP. This method was also used for PMRT and PTMP tender.

 

There were six companies submitted their proposal in the PTMP RFP. Penang State Government appointed audit and consultancy firm KPMG as the independent checker to evaluate the six proposals for technical capacity and financing model. SRS Consortium was appointed based on the independent evaluation.

Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT)

1. Why was the elevated LRT system chosen over other modes of transport such as tram and bus rapid transit (BRT) that move on-ground?

An elevated LRT system does not disrupt road traffic as compared to on-ground trams and BRT, which take up road space. Unlike on-ground tram and BRT, the rail has no risk of colliding with people, vehicles and buildings. Tram and BRT can be affected by congestion caused by accident along the road, but the elevated LRT system bypasses the traffic jam on the road.

 

Road widening for dedicated trams, BRT lanes and stations also require a lot of land acquisition, which will lead to high social impact to the public. The cost for land acquisition is minimal for elevated rail system. As land is scarce on the island, an elevated rail line will be the most practical and cost-effective solution.

2. Will there be any Park & Ride stations along the rail route?

There are plans to equip five stations with Park & Ride facilities.

3. How can I share feedback or concerns about the construction activities and/or workers?

Any complaint can be channelled through the PTMP hotline, the official project website or by walking into the project office. The hotline and official website details will be announced once the project has started.

Pan Island Link 1

1. What are the benefits of PIL 1 to the public?

Penang is now served by only one spine road – the Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu (LCE). PIL 1 is meant to serve as a second spine road and a new bypass functioning as a traffic dispersal system with six strategic interchanges connecting Gurney Expressway, Jalan Paya Terubong, Jalan Tun Dr Awang, LCE, Penang Bridge and Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge. In summary, PIL 1 is meant to be an alternative to the LCE. PIL 1 will ultimately disperse traffic from the LCE, allowing for better traffic flow for both private and public transports.

2. What is the solution taken to preserve historical such as Bukit Bendera and Kek Lok Si Temple?

In line with the Penang Hill Special Area Plan (SAP) and to preserve the beauty and serenity of the hill, PIL 1 will consist of tunnels within the SAP’s boundary. As for Kek Lok Si, PIL 1’s alignment is located about 500m away from the temple, a more than safe distance for the highway’s construction.

3. What kind of safety measures will be in place for nearby residential areas?

Both the Environmental Department and Mineral and Geosciences Department have set guidelines for allowable vibration due to controlled blasting works in sensitive areas. The blast design will be developed in line with the allowable limits. Trial blasts will be done before actual work begins to ensure full compliance with the relevant guidelines.

Penang Major Roads & Third Link

1. The PMRT road components are seen as a revival of the scrapped Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) project, which was previously opposed by the people. Why should Penangites support PMRT now?

The Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) and the PMRT are not exactly the same, although they share similar goals to alleviate traffic congestion.

 

Package 1 and Package 2’s alignments are similar to PORR’s but Package 3 is a new alignment that will connect to the proposed Third Link, which links Persiaran Gurney and Butterworth’s Bagan Ajam.

 

Package 3 will solve traffic congestion on several major roads, critical junctions and adjoining roads; and provide uninterrupted traffic flow between Penang Island and North Seberang Perai.

 

Penangites should support PMRT because:

 

  • the components are part of the PTMP, which is crucial in sustaining Penang’s economic development
  • the components will alleviate traffic congestion on existing roads that have reached saturated traffic flow (Level of Service F) during peak hours, heavy rain, road accidents and festive seasons
  • Unlike PORR, Package 1, 2 and 3 will be toll-free
  • The Third Link will create new economic centres in North Seberang Perai
2. When can the project commence?

Construction of the first road component, Package 2 (Ayer Itam – Lebuh Raya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Bypass) began in February 2021. The commencement of Package 1, Package 3 and Third Link will be decided at a later date.

3. Can the “Request for Proposal” (RFP) method used by Penang State Government to appoint Consortium Zenith for the PMRT be considered open tender?

Yes, as the contract awarded to Consortium Zenith was through the RFP process by open tender. The PMRT went through three stages – pre-qualification process, RFP and tender award process.

 

During the pre-qualification process, the State Government received 11 proposals. All tenderers went through preliminary, technical and financial screenings. Only eight companies passed the screenings and were invited to submit their proposals. Out of the eight, only five sent in their proposals. The five were Consortium Zenith, IJM-CRGL JV, WCT Berhad–Daewoo JV, ECK Construction Sdn Bhd and VST Cemerlang Sdn Bhd – China State Co JV.

 

Following financial and technical evaluations, the state’s financial and technical evaluation committee recommended Consortium Zenith to the State Tender Board based on the company’s technical expertise, financial capability and lowest cost proposal.

 

The State Government subsequently issued Consortium Zenith a Letter of Intent to appoint the latter to undertake the PMRT. The preliminary agreement between both parties were signed in October 2013 while the master agreement was inked in August 2019.

Penang South Islands

1. What is the Penang South Islands (PSI)?

PSI, which is also known as the Penang South Reclamation (PSR), is a Penang State Government project that involves reclaiming three man-made islands off the southern coast of Penang Island to safeguard the state’s long-term development.

2. How will the reclamation’s environmental impact be addressed?

Among the environmental control measures to be implemented are:

• Installing silt curtains to trap sediment and prevent water pollution during reclamation
• Building containment bunds that act as dykes around the reclamation to stabilise the ground and prevent pollution in the surrounding area during the sand filling process
• Using turbidity monitoring devices to provide continuous and real-time monitoring to enable immediate remedial works should the turbidity level exceeds the permissible level

 

Ecology offset programmes to minimise environmental impact and create new marine life habitats will also be implemented, such as:

• Deploying artificial reefs and fish aggregating devices (FADs)
• Planting mangroves
• Releasing fish and prawn fry
• Funding researches related to the marine ecosystem
• Building eco-shorelines that encourages biodiversity, growth of micro habitats and eco-tourism

3. Is PSI against the climate change agenda?

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognises reclamation as a mature and effective technology in protecting land from rising sea levels. (Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, 2019)

 

Many developed countries like Singapore and Denmark are reclaiming land for sustainable development and to face climate change.

 

To support the climate change agenda, PSI’s design and urban planning are incorporating guidelines from the IPCC, Low Carbon Cities Framework (LCCF) and recommendations from Dutch engineering expert Royal HaskoningDHV.

 

PSI’s perimeter will have a minimum platform level of 3m above sea level to provide for rising sea level and joint occurrences of high tides and storm surges. Its coastal buffer zones will also be designed to accommodate progressive additional mitigation measures to address climate change in the future.

 

PSI’s green development policy also aims to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 dan implement eco-friendly lifestyle through various initiatives, which include:

• Powering the Green Tech Park with 100% renewable energy
• Introducing sustainable master planning, shared facilities, climate responsive design and green features to cut urban planning emissions by 40%
• Allocating 20% of land for parks, water canals and green spaces to reduce the environment’s temperature
• Promoting green mobility and public transportation in form of bicycles, electric trams and buses to reduce carbon emissions in transportation by 80%
• Reducing freshwater demand by 70% through a a dual-purpose sewage treatment plant, and using a rainwater harvesting system and water saving devices

4. Will the PSI reclamation impact the fisheries sector and food security in Penang?

South Penang Island fishermen, who operate close to the PSI site, only contribute 1.5% to the total fish production of the state.

 

Based on Fisheries Department records, reclamation projects carried out in the past did not cause the fish landing in the state to decrease. In fact, when the Sri Tanjung Pinang 2 reclamation began in 2016, Penang’s marine fish landing that year increased by 14.5%. Fish landings for the following three years continue to see increases, compared to three years before the reclamation began.

 

Despite this, the PSI project will implement various initiatives to encourage the sustainability of the fisheries sector through the ecology offset programme mentioned above in Answer No. 2.

5. Will the PSI project be detrimental to fishermen?

Fishermen can still continue fishing during and after the reclamation, as construction work will not block their passage to sea. A 250m wide navigation channel will be provided to ensure they can go to sea around the clock, regardless of the tide.

 

The fishermen will still have a vast area to catch fish. The fishing zone for coastal fishermen (Zone A) extends 8 nautical miles (about 14.8km) from shore. This means their fishing area is much larger than the PSI site.

 

Through the PSI project, the Penang State Government also intends to improve the socioeconomic conditions of the local fishing community. RM100 million has been set aside to implement the Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) that offers fishermen financial aid in form of ex-gratia payments and boats and engines; new jetties and other related facilities; business and job opportunities; and training, scholarships and free tuition for their children.

6. Will important turtle landing sites be lost due to the PSI reclamation?

The south Penang Island beaches have never been popular turtle landing sites. From 2001 to 2014, only nine turtle landings were reported in Gertak Sanggul, Pantai Belanda, Pantai Medan, Teluk Kumbar and Teluk Tempoyak.

 

Over the same period, beaches in north Penang Island recorded 721 turtle landings. Most of the landings were at Pantai Kerachut (464) and Teluk Kampi (208).

7. Will PSI threaten 87 marine species?

According to studies that were conducted, all marine species found in waters around the PSI site are commonly found in coastal waters all over Malaysia.

8. Will sand extraction activities impact fishermen?

The sand sources for the PSI project are in federal waters off Perak and Selangor. The site closest to any shore is 20 nautical miles (about 37km), a far distance from the fishing zone of coastal fishermen.

 

Sand will only be extracted from EIA-approved sites to ensure the activities will not cause significant impact.

9. PSI is reported to be important for industrial development. Why don’t the state government develop industrial land in Seberang Perai?

Seberang Perai, which has nine industrial parks – Mak Mandin, Perai, Seberang Jaya, Bukit Tengah, Bukit Minyak, Penang Science Park, Penang Science Park Utara, dan Taman Perindustrian Batu Kawan 1 dan 2 – is also running out of industrial land.

 

As of June 2021, the Batu Kawan industrial park had only 80ha left, with each plot measuring less than 4ha in size.

 

The decision to expand the Bayan Lepas FIZ in PSI is also because international investors are more interested in a location with an established ecosystem and infrastructure suitable for the electrical and electronic (E & E) sector.

Penang Transport Master Plan

1. What is the Penang Transport Master Plan?

PTMP is the Penang State Government’s long-term strategy to develop an integrated state-wide transport infrastructure for the benefits of the people.

2. PTMP will

  • Upgrade public transport system in Penang
  • Relieve present and prevent future traffic congestion
  • Reduce carbon emission
  • Lower travel expense
  • Reduce journey time
  • Create job opportunities
  • Provide various modes of transport

 

Without improvements to the current public transport infrastructure, road congestion will continue to deteriorate as Penang’s population increases. This will impact travel time and the overall quality of life in Penang.

3. Will the heritage sites in Penang be affected by the construction of the PTMP?

No, it will not. The Penang State Government recognises and values the importance of World Heritage Sites. To ensure the conservation of the architecture, culture and cityscape of the buildings in the George Town World Heritage Site, the proposed Bayan Lepas Rail Line and future transit lines will be aligned accordingly around the perimeter of the heritage site and buffer zone. In compliance with the heritage guidelines, the tram line within the World Heritage Site will be at-grade (on ground).

4. Can the “Request for Proposal” (RFP) method used by Penang State Government to appoint SRS Consortium be considered an open tender?

Yes, RFP is an open tender procurement method used by international institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the World Health Organization.

 

Federal agencies such as Bank Negara and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation also use RFP. The appointment of Halcrow, AJC Planning, and Singapore’s Cruise Centre to conduct the initial study on the PTMP in 2010 was also tendered through RFP.

 

There were six companies submitted their proposal in the PTMP RFP. Penang State Government appointed audit and consultancy firm KPMG as the independent checker to evaluate the six proposals for technical capacity and financing model. SRS Consortium was appointed based on the independent evaluation.

Bayan Lepas Rail Line

1. Why was the elevated urban rail system chosen over other modes of transport such as tram and bus rapid transit (BRT) that move on-ground?

An elevated rail system does not disrupt road traffic as compared to on-ground trams and BRT, which take up road space. Unlike on-ground tram and BRT, the rail has no risk of colliding with people, vehicles and buildings. Tram and BRT can be affected by congestion caused by accident along the road, but the elevated rail system bypasses the traffic jam on the road.

 

Road widenings for dedicated tram, BRT lanes and stations also require a lot of land acquisition, which will lead to high social impact to the public. The cost for land acquisition is minimal for elevated rail system. As land is scarce on the island, an elevated rail line will be the most practical and cost-effective solution.

2. Will there be any Park & Ride stations along the rail route?

There are eight stations currently in planning to be equipped with Park & Ride facilities.

3. How can I share feedback or concerns about the construction activities and/or workers?

Any complaint can be channelled through the PTMP hotline, the official project website or by walking into the project office. The hotline and official website details will be announced once the project has started.

Pan Island Link 1

1. What are the benefits of PIL 1 to the public?

Penang is now served by only one spine road – the Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu (LCE). PIL 1 is meant to serve as a second spine road and a new bypass functioning as a traffic dispersal system with six strategic interchanges connecting Gurney Expressway, Jalan Paya Terubong, Jalan Tun Dr Awang, LCE, Penang Bridge and Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge. In summary, PIL 1 is meant to be an alternative to the LCE. PIL 1 will ultimately disperse traffic from the LCE, allowing for better traffic flow for both private and public transports.

2. What is the solution taken to preserve historical such as Bukit Bendera and Kek Lok Si Temple?

In line with the Penang Hill Special Area Plan (SAP) and to preserve the beauty and serenity of the hill, PIL 1 will consist of tunnels within the SAP’s boundary. As for Kek Lok Si, PIL 1’s alignment is located about 500m away from the temple, a more than safe distance for the highway’s construction.

3. What kind of safety measures will be in place for nearby residential areas?

Both the Environmental Department and Mineral and Geosciences Department have set guidelines for allowable vibration due to controlled blasting works in sensitive areas. The blast design will be developed in line with the allowable limits. Trial blasts will be done before actual work begins to ensure full compliance with the relevant guidelines.

Penang Major Roads & Third Link

1. The PMRT road components are seen as a revival of the scrapped Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) project, which was previously opposed by the people. Why should Penangites support PMRT now?

The Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) and the PMRT are not exactly the same, although they share similar goals to alleviate traffic congestion.

 

Package 1 and Package 2’s alignments are similar to PORR’s but Package 3 is a new alignment that will connect to the proposed Third Link, which links Persiaran Gurney and Butterworth’s Bagan Ajam.

 

Package 3 will solve traffic congestion on several major roads, critical junctions and adjoining roads; and provide uninterrupted traffic flow between Penang Island and North Seberang Perai.

 

Penangites should support PMRT because:

 

  • the components are part of the PTMP, which is crucial in sustaining Penang’s economic development
  • the components will alleviate traffic congestion on existing roads that have reached saturated traffic flow (Level of Service F) during peak hours, heavy rain, road accidents and festive seasons
  • Unlike PORR, Package 1, 2 and 3 will be toll-free
  • The Third Link connected to Package 3 will create new economic centres in North Seberang Perai

2. When can the project commence?

Construction of the first road component, Package 2 (Bandar Baru Ayer Itam to Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu by-pass) began in February 2021. The commencement of Package 1, Package 3 and Third Link will be decided at a later date.

3. Can the “Request for Proposal” (RFP) method used by Penang State Government to appoint Consortium Zenith for the PMRT be considered open tender?

Yes, as the contract awarded to Consortium Zenith was through the RFP process by open tender. The PMRT went through three stages – pre-qualification process, RFP and tender award process.

 

During the pre-qualification process, the State Government received 11 proposals. All tenderers went through preliminary, technical and financial screenings. Only eight companies passed the screenings and were invited to submit their proposals. Out of the eight, only five sent in their proposals. The five were Consortium Zenith, IJM-CRGL JV, WCT Berhad–Daewoo JV, ECK Construction Sdn Bhd and VST Cemerlang Sdn Bhd – China State Co JV.

 

Following financial and technical evaluations, the state’s financial and technical evaluation committee recommended Consortium Zenith to the State Tender Board based on the company’s technical expertise, financial capability and lowest cost proposal.

 

The State Government subsequently issued Consortium Zenith a Letter of Intent to appoint the latter to undertake the PMRT. The preliminary agreement between both parties were signed in October 2013 while the master agreement was inked in August 2019.