Another day, another mega-project proposed… You would have thought the pandemic and economic slump would have made our planners a little more circumspect about indulging in more mega-projects.
But nooo, the economic slump has offered few lessons to our ‘planners’. Even as the Covid threat appears to be receding a little, we hear of more mega-projects in the pipeline: the cable car is still in the picture (despite Penang Hill and surroundings being selected as a Unesco Man and Biosphere site), there’s more reclamation in Langkawi, there’s the Kulim airport project, another 1,000 acres of reclamation in Butterworth and now a proposed third Penang bridge.
Hold on a sec… The idea for a bridge-tunnel in this part of Penang was originally mooted by none other than then-Works Minister Samy Vellu in 2001 – yes, 20 years ago. Back then, I wrote a piece (‘The Parking Lot of the Orient’) for Aliran Monthly opposing the 9.2km cross-channel road link estimated at a cost of RM2.3bn (back then) from Bagan Ajam on the mainland to Bagan Jermal (near Gurney Drive) on the island as it would choke the island with cars. Full article on Aliran website