Penang-B’worth tunnel MOU signed


The Penang government intends to build a 6.5km tunnel from Gurney Drive to Butterworth, in addition to earlier announced highway-tunnel stretches.

The Penang state government this morning signed an MOU with Beijing Urban Construction Group Co Ltd (BUCG) chairman Liu Longhua, witnessed by Najib and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The deal also covers two other projects announced earlier this week – two stretches of tunnels and elevated highways, 8.8km in all.

Of course, this is only an MOU, meaning nothing is cast in stone, but the firm from China is a major corporation.

Personally, I think what is needed now is actually a cross-channel rail link that would move people away from private motor vehicles. But as a rail link would come under federal jurisdiction (which is a shame, as such matters should be decided at the local level), it does not look likely in the near future.

The consultants of the transport master plan may be in a dilemma as more roads and tunnels will only encourage the growth of private motor vehicles. I think we should give them a chance to come up with sustainable proposals. By the way, the Penang Island Local Plan (not yet launched) was made without a transport master plan and, from what I hear, the permissible densities in some areas assumes unrealistically high public transport usage (given current rates of usage).

Some points need to be considered:

  • If these tunnels and highways are serious projects, where is the money coming from?
  • What is the quid pro quo, if any, behind these deals? Land exchange could be involved. Care must be taken to ensure that the people of Penang do not lose out.
  • All these projects need to be discussed and debated in the MPPP, the Penang State Assembly and the Penang Transport Council before any final decisions are made.
  • The views of the Penang public should be sought.
  • We also need to consider seismic activity in this region.
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People in Malaysia just not getting used to project build or finance by China, if this is to be build or financed by France, Japan, or Germany, Probably Nobody will criticize or comment !
Wake up lah, time had changed, China cannot be forever backwards !


China has so much money nowadays they just do not know what to do with it.

why not invest in penang, they must see LGE and his team as people they can trust.

China comes in the BN boys also takut, hiya kacang la if they want hand out give to them la, dont kacau Penangs progress…!

Penang Lang

I do have some questions regarding your post:

1. How do you know China doesn’t know what to do with their money?

2. How do you know China view LGE (and his team) as trustworthy?


Traffic problem in Penang is mainly due to attitude of the drivers. Just try driving by Macalister road , Fettes Park or Gotlieb road (on school days) , you’ll understand the problem… People just dont care how they park and this causes unnecessary jams.
I once took a bus from Tesco to the Jetty, all I can say is, if I was the driver, I would have have gone mad. Please, I hope everyone here attempts to take a Rapid bus ride during peak hours, you will understand the situation……

Penang Lang

No matter if it’s Gotlieb Road or Green Lane, or even Batu Lanchang, whenever it’s the time where students get out of school, you sure got parents parking their cars in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, as tho it belongs to their granddaddy.

I do not trust the Malaysia polis. No, I don’t.

But in this case I would mind if the Malaysian polis actually do one thing right – writing samans to those parents who clog the roads with their cars waiting for their precious children.

semuanya OK kot

Bus Rapid Transport is the answer, even for KL, but the people concerned are all pretending not to understand because they are starry-eyed with the thought of billions of RM. To cut the deadlock in arguments, dedicated bus lanes are essential.

Instead of a tunnel or MRT, we might as well use helicopters.

Wei Siong

Anil Kindly initiate a new topic of discussion on the brain drain situation in Malaysia despite the 1Talent initiative. “World Bank senior economist Philip Schellekens on April 28 painted a gloomy picture of the Malaysian brain drain situation saying that it not only grew rapidly but is likely to intensify, further eroding the country’s already narrow skills base. Schellekens said that the number of skilled Malaysians living abroad has tripled in the last two decades with two out of every 10 Malaysians with tertiary education opting to leave for either OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries or Singapore.… Read more »


Remarks by Chief Minister of Penang YAB Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on 28.04.2011 There was an exchange of a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today in Putrajaya between the Penang State Government and Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG) in the presence of Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak and China Premier Wen Jia Bao. The MOU is a proposal for three multi-billion Ringgit road and tunnel projects, namely: 1. Gurney Drive – Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Bypass (4.2km) 2. Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu – Bandar Baru Air Itam Bypass (4.6km) 3. Penang –… Read more »


(A director of a property developer firm) said … we will build another Burj Al Dubai here at Gurney Drive..who knows the tunnel will connect to it.


no links,but i wonder why (this) Tan Sri … is holding a plan when i bump up with him at gurney drive a couple of months ago. then you came up with this story…


“I would rather try and fail, than failing to try at all!”

gallant words from our beloved CM indeed!

……. if only the high-stake chips he pushes forward are from his own pockets …. then and only then I am sure all of us will arise and applaud his guts with standing ovation.

But as someone who preaches CAT, and endowed with the moral stewardship of the public purse ……….??? (while the transport master studies consultants have just been appointed) ………

Ong Eu Soon

You can literally translate “I would rather try and fail, than failing to try at all!” as 宁可做错不可放过。Wonder if BN use this to attack LGe how he going to defend himself. Today after overselling the Penang hill, we witnessed the chaos created when the tourists rush to test ride the furnicular train. The trip were limited to half an hour per trip with max 80 commuters. How on earth can it cater for more than 50000 tourists. The limited carrying capacity of Penang Hill has forced the furnicular train to impose such a limit, which prevented the hill from being… Read more »

tan, tanjung bungah

Hi everyone,

A Transport Master Plan is underway and must take into consideration what has been listed by Anil as part of views of Pg public.

If a tunnel is feasible, it could also include an MRT if this is also financially feasible!

But, if the project becomes a certainty, public views should be sought on whatever proper studies have been done on the project, which itself would become a tourist attraction as well.

Penang Lang

Mister Netto, Can you create a special section on your blog for so to allow Penang people to give suggestions on how to improve Penang’s traffic woes? What I mean is, we do not need to talk about any “mass transportation system” because it is under the jurisdiction of the Federal government. Yes, even Bus System is under the control of Putra Jaya. What is needed now, however, is for the Penang people to have a place where they can give suggestions as to how the Penang traffic pattern could be improved. For example: There are stretches of road, such… Read more »


This article at least you admit the Penang Govt has the right to explore options. If you going to make suggestions, get your basic numbers rights before opening your mouth. Do you have any idea what it takes to build a rail link/system across the straits? You can’t just built a rail link, you need to build a rail system. And the cost of building such a system is massive especially if you need to build the rail link which need expansion of the bridge. Penang simply do not have the density. Tunneling may sound dumb from the cost point… Read more »

Penang Lang

Dear Sir, Tunneling on dry land and tunneling under water are two different things. In fact, it *IS* easier to tunnel underwater than on dry land, and the reason may surprised you. If you are on dry land, tunneling means you dig a tunnel underground, and on the way you have to set up all types of beams and stuffs to ensure that the tunnel does not collapse. Underwater tunneling, on the other hand, you just BUILD the tunnels, section by section, not that much different from what they are doing in building the 2nd link. On 2nd link, they… Read more »


wow fantastic information

Christine Yong

Well, I think it is a little confusing with so many announcements! Does it mean that the 3.2 Mil Consultant for the Master Plan needs to take this project into consideration? Currently there is one Pg Bridege and the second is being built………..does Pg still need the tunnel? Is the cost of constructing a tunnel cheaper than a 3rd bridge??


Its never cheap when you go underground … tunneling costs much more, example is the proposed new links in the island at the purported RM4B. :o)


A 6.5km tunnel compare to 23km bridge, no absolute here. On the other hand, I always wonder why no one point out that a 23km bridge is a stupid idea, as it means once you are on the bridge, you have no place to go but to drive whole 23km. Imagine you are trapped in the a traffic jam, jam for 23km? Imagine a sleepy/tired driver, the longer he needs to concentrate driving on a straight stretch of bridge above the sea, the higher possibility for an accident to happen. Imagine to let bus to ply the bridge, that will… Read more »

Penang Lang

You were wondering why no one pointed out that the 23 KM bridge is a stupid idea.

Wonder no more.

I pointed it out many years ago.

But then, I was all alone in saying that and a lot of people were booing me when I pointed out that the distance between The Esplanade and Butterworth is less than 3KM, building a bridge that takes an extra 20 kilometers does not make sense.


Good to know there are same mind out there. Too bad our voice will never be heard back then and the work had been started.


It made sense when the blue ink of ‘go ahead’ was not signed on paper yet. Now after the signing, it doesn’t matter that it makes absolutely no harebrained sense at all! The gravy train has long passed our station master of CAT.


The 2nd bridge is still not a bad idea as it opens a direct link from Batu Kawan/Jawi area to the Free Trade Zone and the airport on the island. This will speed up the growth of population centres and industries which are getting congested and expensive on the island and in areas around the Penang bridge.

Like those underwater links in Hong Kong, our 3rd link will certainly not be the last.

Penang Lang


Your premise is wrong.

Tunneling normally cost more than surface road, but in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and yes, Penang, where land is limited and the price is extra-ordinarily expensive, the tunneling option becomes more bearable.

Gerakan K

Another surprise in Penang ??? Is that rocket now blue sea friendly ??? Is that the unity talk v2 between rocket and blue sea ??? Another Hee/RPK ???

Penang Lang

Yes, there are a lot of surprises, but then, they are better than the surprises that came from Koh Tsu Koon – like the Bukit Dumbar land, for no reason, given to some Malay company, for free.

If you really want to know where that land is, you go to Tesco Gelugor from Green Lane, you sure find that piece of pristine land on the left hand side, just in front of the traffic light.


Is this federal planned? I do not believe LGE have the power to negotiate with China.

Penang Lang

The CM of Penang, just like MB or any states in Malaysia, has the right to negotiate with China or any other country in the world, as long as the negotiation does not harm Malaysia.

Or why we have CM / MB for?

I mean, if the central government controls EVERY SINGLE THING we might as well give it all up and let Najib runs his one-man-show.


I am not saying that CM should not have power to negotiate with foreign government. What I am trying to say is our Federation of Malaysia is just a federation in name. Admit it or not, nearly all of the government revenues goes to the central government, and state government is not allow to take loan from any party other than the central government itself, there is not even an option of releasing state government bond I believe. Unless LGE had figure out a way to get pass federal to fund the project which so far seems impossible. Anyway, I… Read more »

Penang Lang

Would you mind showing us where in the Constitution that says “State has no right to take loan” ?


I take your question as educational.

1st of all, I am not lawyer and I just interpret it using common sense English.

Article 111(2) prohibits state government takes loan except:
i) from federal government.
ii) short term loan within 5 yrs.
iii) approved by federal government.

Article 111(3) prohibits state government to release guarantee. I assume that means cannot raise fund by guarantee any releasing of government bond.

On the other hand, during my google, there seems to be a loop hole.

By setting up a state-owned company, it is possible to circumvent these articles in our constitution.


like 2nd link soft loan from china, china company BOT , build operate transfer. then collect toll for a period.

this is common practise in international arena.

thank you for a new malaysia CM Lim


Transport Master Plan study must go on. Cannot sulk and say no need to do it. A masterplan is an absolute necessity. Im sure ur research will reveal that the appointd contractor needs into take into account the proposed new tunnels n higways in their study.

Nevertheless, keep up your reconnaissance over Penang as Im sure someone from CM’s office is reading ur blog and taking note of it.


yes, i agreed with a proper transport master plan, better do it wrong on the plan rather than on the real life…..
please…more transport planning and urban design competition for the best and creative idea…… this is how we can gathered all the talents


WE NEED MONORAIL/MRT in penang! too many kiasu and reckless drivers around!

Penang Lang

Has any of you actually know what a “monorail” is?

Has any of you any idea how limited the capacity of the monorail system?

Get the facts before you ask for something that stupid.

Go to KL and see for yourself the pathetic monorail system.

Wei Siong

I think the majority of Penangites will still drive their cars even if there is a MRT or LRT or monorail. Owning a car and driving one is a status symbol to many. That’s a fact.

Penang Lang

You would be surprised, my friend. Penang people are not KL folks. Penang people are not snobs. Penang people, before the arrival of Mahathir and his proton-saga protection scheme, do take buses. Oh yes, we took the Seng Seng buses. We took the Yellow buses. We took bus whereever we go, even when we have cars. Why have cars then, if we are taking bus? Simple. Some of us do need to go outstation. And in those days, there were no “express buses” plying the KL/PG or SG/PG routes, so we still need to own cars to go distance. But… Read more »


As late as the 80’s, you had to fight in the queue to board a bus to take you home. That was Lim Seng Seng buses at Prangin Bus Station. They were quite punctual and efficient plying the routes no other buses would want to go as far as Sungai Pinang or Balik Pulau. And as an economic incentive to save, buses were the way to go places for those earning less than RM200 in those days before the advent of the gaya raya Proton Sagas. To this day, I doubt Rapid buses can live up to the reputation of… Read more »


Well … mega projects are the way to go, they know better. So looks like LGE and PM are happy to enjoy all the mega projects la …