Delay in Penang Sentral project worries state govt

The state government is concerned over the lack of progress at the RM2.7bil Penang Sentral project in Bagan Dalam, Butterworth.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mansor Othman said the project was launched by former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in July 2007 and the first phase was supposed to be completed by this year.

The project’s first phase costing RM400mil involved the construction of permanent bus and taxi terminals with access to the railway station and ferry terminal, along with retail outlets.

The second phase comprises a commercial hub that includes office towers, service apartments, a hotel and waterfront amenities.

Mansor said the state government would give top priority in assisting the Federal Government in expediting construction work.

“The project developers should let us know immediately if there is anything holding up the project.

“If there is any problem, we will make it our priority to help resolve it as soon as possible,” he said yesterday.

Mansor said the integrated transportation hub covering 12ha of land near the Butterworth ferry terminal was vital for economic activities in Butterworth and surrounding areas.

He said that along with the Second Penang Bridge project, the expansion work on the Penang International Airport and Mengkuang Dam, the Penang Sentral project was critical for Penang.

“It is an integral component in the Greater Penang Transformation Programme to generate economic activities for the people,” he said.

The Penang Sentral project, deve-loped by Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) in partnership with Pelaburan Hartanah Bu-miputera Berhad, is part of the Northern Corridor Economic Region initiative.

Both companies formed a joint venture company, called Penang Sentral Sdn Bhd, which would undertake the development of the transport and commercial hub.

Last November, MRCB executive director Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid said the first phase would be ready by December 2013, while the second, third and final phases would be completed in 10 years.

The transport hub, when completed by 2020, is expected to generate economic spillover effects of about RM8bil and would cater to approximately 65 million passengers a year.

A RM5mil temporary bus terminal was completed near the project site in March 2008.

The former bus terminal, sited at the Penang Port Commission (PPC) Complex, could not be used after fire razed the complex in May 2001. - By The Star

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