The Transport Minister said the upgrading cost of the second phase of the Klang Valley rail double-tracking is estimated to be RM5.9bn for 110km.
“This translates to RM53m for every kilometre. It is really high and the Government doesn’t agree with this,” he was quoted as saying.
Yes, that certainly warrants a review.
Plus, we were all upset over the East Coast Rail Link. RM60bn for a 688km line works out to RM87m/km. Even more expensive compared with the KL double tracking. We know the story behind that and how it was very likely inflated.
But what about the Penang mega transport projects. Are we getting value for money?
The 20km Pan Island Link six-lane highway hugging the hills of Penang Island is expected to cost RM8bn. How much does that work out to? A staggering RM400m/km.
What about the Penang LRT? Also over RM8bn – for 30km? That’s RM266m/km.
So why no review of the Penang mega projects? To say that it is self-funded through land reclamation, so we shouldn’t worry about such extravagance is alarming.
First of all, funds raised from the sale of reclaimed land come at a serious environmental cost. Land reclamation usurps the Commons, the sea and the fisheries which is public property, and turns it into private property for private gain. And what about all that mining for sand and rocks that will be required for the reclamation?
How do you begin to value the loss to the natural environment. Not everything has a price, you know.
Also, who will bear the cost of the expensive dredging that will very likely be required in the long run to curb siltation? Tens, even hundreds of millions of ringgit, perhaps? Can the state government tell us who will pay for that in the long-run?
As for the housing that will be built on that reclaimed land, only 20% will be ‘affordable’ (to the B40?). Who will buy the remaining 80% of homes beyond the reach of most ordinary Penangites? Who are we building these homes for – and don’t we already have a glut of homes over RM500,000? The number of such homes Penang has doubled in a single year, 2017.
In view of this exorbitant cost (real and hidden), Penang Forum had called for a an independent review of the RM46bn SRS proposal (which includes the tunnel and three other highways), especially when there are plenty of cheaper options available, now that the federal transport ministry is also under PH rule.
So why is that not possible, when the ECRL and the Klang Valley double-tracking are being reviewed? Why the double standards?
Meanwhile, a couple of the firms linked to Penang mega projects have donated to Tabung Harapan.
Blog commenter Tan Wee Theng adds:
Before GE14, the perceived value of a project delivery partner was in its ability to get approval from the federal government and a ridiculously high premium was arrogantly attached to its price which all parties concerned then were trying to shovel down our throats for the sake of being seen to be proactive and doing something.
PH, DAP in particular, should realise that Penangites fought hard and gave them a thunderous victory, especially in Penang. PH MUST review the PDP’s proposal. Federal and state governments are now aligned and you can get whatever licence and permits Penang public transport require.