Reclaimed land to fund project in Penang

In the pipeline: A map showing the various components of Penang Transport Master Plan and location of the man-made islands (in yellow).

The RM27bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) might be funded through the auction of two plots of reclaimed land in the southern coast of Penang island.

SRS Consortium, the appointed Project Delivery Partner (PDP) of the plan, has proposed the reclaimed land as an asset for the state to raise funds to deliver the project in a timely and sustainable manner.

The two man-made islands, located near Permatang Damar Laut, will be known as the South Reclamation Scheme (SRS) spanning 930ha and 445ha.

A third plot of 323ha reclaimed land next to the two islands has also been identified if there is a future demand for land activities.

SRS Consortium project director Szeto Wai Loong said Danist Hydraulic Institute, an internationally reputed water environment expert, recently carried out extensive studies on the southern coast of the island.

The institute, he said, confirmed that the coast was the most suitable for reclamation due to its natural bay area with weak tidal currents, shallow water and natural shelter from the effects of tsunami.

“They checked all the coastlines in Penang island, and found that the southern coast is most technically viable for reclamation as it has limited environmental sensitivity, with no seagrass or coral reefs.

“Our communications team will be engaging with the fishermen in the area. We want to hear them out,” he told reporters at a briefing in Komtar here yesterday.

Szeto said the man-made islands would see a new smart green city called SRS Smart City, aimed at re-energising Penang’s economic engine for the next 50 years.

He said the new city’s location would be close to the Bayan Lepas International Airport and this would allow the Free Trade Zone’s 471 small and medium enterprises and 117 multinational companies to expand.

“We were told 30% of the companies had wanted to expand but there’s no room for them to grow at the moment.

“SRS Smart City will be able to help these companies expand. The islands will have their own self-cleansing system to prevent erosion and siltation.

“Besides providing attractive housing solutions, there will also be a 5km beach, a 25km coastal park, a 30km waterfront and 283ha of green areas,” he said.

He added that there would be an efficient rail transit system serving the new city.

SRS Consortium is a company formed by public-listed Gamuda Bhd and two local property firms – Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd and Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd.

It was appointed by the state in August to come up with a detailed execution of the master plan and engineering designs, and to gather public feedback and obtain all state and federal approvals for each PTMP component.

Among the components of PTMP were trams, monorail, light rail transit lines, e-bus, bus rapid transit, pan-island expressway, a catamaran system and a RM100mil highway interchange upgrading project.

Szeto said they had spent RM10mil to carry out feasibility studies on PTMP.

Penang Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the project was still “a work in progress”.

“The state government has not given any approval yet. Submission of detailed environmental impact assessment will only be done in June next year.

“We will be doing more than the legal provision requires. We will engage various stakeholders next month with a similar presentation. This will allow us to finetune the project after getting feedback,” he said. - By Tan Sin Chow (The Star)

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