THE Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) might be delayed as the state government is working on smoothing out “issues” in the RM46 bil mega project. 

The Penang government was supposed to ink the project delivery partner (PDP) agreement with SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd before the Chinese New Year celebrations. But it seems the agreement will only materialise after the festivities. 

“I have told the press that if it can be signed before Chinese New Year (CNY), it will be signed. If not, after CNY. Need to tidy up all the issues,” Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow told FocusM in a terse message. 

SRS Consortium is a 60:20:20 joint venture among Gamuda Bhd and Penang-based companies Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd and Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd. 

Sources tell FocusM that the PDP was supposed to be signed by late January but it had been delayed to the middle of this month.

PTMP, which could be among the most expensive large-scale public projects in the country, was conceived to achieve a public-private transport model share of 40:60 by the year 2030. 

To that end, the PTMP envisaged a network consisting of a light rail transit (LRT) network, monorail, bus rapid transit (BRT), trams, e-hailing services as well as ferry and water taxies. Also proposed is a major highway, PIL1 (Pan Island Link 1), and two shorter freeways PIL2 and PIL2a. 

Gamuda group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling said on Dec 5 that the construction giant, which also controls SRS, would sign the PDP “in the next few weeks” with the first package of the LRT to be awarded in the middle of this year. 

“Once the PDP agreement is signed, the design works will start, from LRT to the first (man-made) island, or what we call Island A, and the Pan Island Links, and reclamation work for South Island will all move. We expect by the middle of 2020, the first package of LRT will be awarded,” he told reporters that day as quoted in The Edge.

“My guess (for the PDP agreement to be signed) is next few weeks.” he said.

According to Chow, the LRT system will be financed by the Penang government through the setting up of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) which would issue bonds guaranteed by the federal government. 

Chow said on Nov 8 that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad proposed this in a letter received by the state government dated Oct 15. 

The state government had begun talking to several banks that could help manage the funds issued through the bonds, he added. 

Further, there will be the creation of three islands off the southern coast of the main island. SRS is expected to fork out RM11 bil to reclaim the islands – A, B and C – which would make available a total of 1,818ha (4,500 acres) of land. 

Island A has been designated as an industrial park where lots would be sold to investors to raise funds for PTMP. Island B will cater for high-end support services for the industrial park, such as financial and business services. Island C will be geared towards tourism and residential properties. 

It has been estimated that the three islands would be able to raise RM70 bil for 1,800ha, more than enough to cover the cost of the PTMP. – Feb 5, 2020

 

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