Penangites once came out strongly to get rid of the Penang Outer Ring Road – only to get this now… Porr 2.0?… plus three new artificial islands that could affect the livelihoods of fishing communities in southern Penang Island.
The state government paid RM3m to Halcow for a transport masterplan and then comes up with this – a major new highway that slices the island right smack in the middle? What kind of sustainable transport is this?
.. while the lucky developers of the southern islands must be rubbing their hands with glee. The three islands will cover 930ha, 485ha and 323ha for a total of 1,738ha i.e. 4,295 acres! Incredible. (Not to forget the 760-acre island coming up off Tanjung Tokong, in the North East of Penang Island.)
Welcome to Penang, paradise for developers and playground for the well heeled.
The state government, with the ‘project delivery partner’, SRS Consortium, is holding a briefing on the transport masterplan for NGOs and residents associations on Sunday, 6 December 2015. This is so that they can later say they have held ‘briefings’ and ‘consultations’ with the public to add legitimacy to the project.
I won’t be attending this time.
I was there at one consultation workshop for the Penang transport masterplan that was being formulated where I distinctly heard those present saying they wanted more sustainable transport options instead of more highways. Yet, the transport masterplan resulted in RM17bn out of the RM27bn in total being allocated for more highways.
I was there at the Sri Tanjong Pinang Phase 2 public consultation, where many, including the affected fisher folk, expressed major reservations about the project. Yet, the DOE hastily gave the project the green light without so much as responding to the concerns of civil society.
So pardon me for feeling cynical about these ‘consultations’ – which appear to me to be little more than public relations gimmicks.