Get independent sustainable mobility experts to review Penang’s bloated PTMP

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The RM46bn SRS rojak

Penang Forum congratulates Anwar Ibrahim on becoming Prime Minister of Malaysia.

So far, the PM has set the tone for his new administration by commendably shunning extravagant spending, especially in his choice of official car, saving the government a large sum of money. He also wants to trim ministerial pay and slim down the cabinet to reflect the new administration’s commitment to financial prudence.

In the same vein, Penang Forum hopes the new PM will review all mega-projects, which involve billions of ringgit of public funds.

As the new PM is surely aware, civil society groups in Penang have consistently highlighted the bloated “PTMP” mega-project costing a colossal RM46bn ringgit.

It was disingenuous of the Penang government to recently mention the rail link from Penang Island to mainland Penang, as this does not fall under PTMP Phase 1, which will take years to complete.

Instead, what is in Phase 1 is a mega-highway project on sensitive hill terrain – the RM9bn “Pan Island Link” – and a RM10bn single-line elevated light rail transit project. Both mega-projects come up to almost RM20bn.

Penang Forum has consistently pointed out that these projects are bloated and unsustainable. What’s more, the SRS Consortium’s PTMP financing model – to raise funds by selling 4,500 acres of reclaimed land off the southern coast of Penang Island – has clearly failed.

When SRS first put forward its proposal, we were told a key reason it was selected was that its financial model would not cost the public anything as the proceeds from the sales of reclaimed land would finance the transport infrastructure. The only financing required would be a couple of billion of ringgit of bridging loans to meet working capital shortfalls.

By now, however, it is clear that the land reclamation, dogged by ecological concerns and a listless property market, will not be quick enough to raise enough funds to finance the RM20bn required under Phase 1 – hence the Penang government’s desperate plea to the federal government for financing for the PTMP.

But we question the wisdom of making such a financial commitment without carrying out an independent review and due diligence, especially given the federal government’s own severe financial constraints.

So, to put an end to the ding-dong argument over who is right – the Penang state government or the Penang NGOs – we propose that the federal government engage international experts on sustainable mobility to review the bloated PTMP.

One such body that could be roped in is the non-profit Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) based in New York, which has considerable expertise in looking at sustainable mobility solutions.

We believe the focus should be on building up the bus system in Penang and later upgrading busy routes to street-level rail lines as and when the need arises, as well as improving first and last mile connectivity.

As it stands, Penang has fewer than 400 buses. Long before Singapore started its mass rapid transit system, it drastically improved its bus service. Today the island republic has almost 6,000 buses, and they even carry more passengers than the MRT system – hard to believe, but true. This would cost only a fraction of the SRS PMTP.

Also, we need to maximise the potential of water transport in the state given that much of the state is so close to the sea. Sadly, we have already lost the regular iconic Penang ferries.

So we hope that the federal’s government’s commendable prudence in spending will extend to the ecologically and financially unsustainable mega-projects in Penang.

Please subject the PTMP to international review by a genuinely independent body of sustainable mobility experts. Surely, that is not asking too much, given the tens of billions of ringgit at stake. – Penang Forum

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Mat Din
Mat Din
8 Dec 2022 4.10pm

I support public transportation whatever form it is as rakyat should not be burdened with car ownership. Also for the sake of environment and the effect climate change due to carbon emissions.

Already the traffic congestion is a pain on the Penang island!

Yoges
Yoges
10 Dec 2022 4.25pm
Reply to  Mat Din

Parking space is acute with high vehicle density on the island. The economy of Penang will soon be choked by traffic congestion if public transportation cannot appeal to the young population aspiring for car ownership.

Shriek
Shriek
12 Dec 2022 2.45pm
Reply to  Yoges

Bus, packed. Smelly, jerky, running late and caught in jam. Ah pek and Ah get sea sick.LRt, have class, comfortable and on time….

Richie Loman
Richie Loman
1 Jan 2023 7.28pm
Reply to  Shriek

Don’t be so insulting.
Rapid Penang has improved from the days of Hin buses.

shriek
shriek
11 Dec 2022 9.39pm
Reply to  Mat Din

penang island’s land is for running and parking cars. Island of cars

Sirius
29 Dec 2022 12.52pm
Reply to  Mat Din

Dec 28 — Penang state executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari today announced a RM7.5 million allocation for the extension of its Pas Mutiara bus programme next year.

The transport and infrastructure committee chairman said the state will be funding 150,000 units of Pas Mutiara to enable the pass holders to ride the Rapid Penang buses in the state free of charge.

http://www.malaymail.com/amp/news/malaysia/2022/12/28/penang-sets-aside-rm75m-for-2023-free-bus-programme/47380

Harimau Tua
Harimau Tua
30 Dec 2022 11.44am
Reply to  Anil Netto

Sadly many Penangites still prefer to drive own car – car is an extention of their (lack of) ego – drive around to ‘command presence’ (as one car ad put it) nevermind you are cash poor in in car debt.

luca
luca
10 Jan 2023 7.11am
Reply to  Harimau Tua
Sirius
29 Dec 2022 7.28pm
Reply to  Mat Din

A free bus service between the city on the Penang island and Bukit Mertajam on the mainland will begin Jan 1.

The service, provided by the state government to link those travelling from the Bukit Mertajam bus terminal to Komtar and vice versa, is expected to play a crucial role for the needy other than boosting public transport usage.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2022/12/29/penang-to-launch-free-cross-strait-bus-rides

PCH
PCH
9 Dec 2022 12.27am

“Penang fewer than 400 buses” – Penang Forum suggests to increase more buses must be ridiculously illogical ?

Just ask 888 uncles and aunties how many of them use RapidPenang regularly.

Or ask members of Penang Forum if they leave their cars at home to ride RapidPenang ?

shriek
shriek
9 Dec 2022 7.46pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

But then where is their green credentials? They should support mankind to cap the temperature increase to 0.5 deg C? Many countries are changing to solar and wind and decommission coal. All of us has to make sacrifices. But the west demostrate their power by sail war ships and planes to east asia

A Rakyat 888
11 Dec 2022 11.27am
Reply to  shriek

Who is this ” their green credentials ” ? Are you talking about your
chief ? If yes, then they have this Green 2020-2030 project book, now probably collecting dust covered with cobwebs. Have not heard anything about it for quite a while now. How many people does the state have, employed for this?

Shriek
Shriek
15 Dec 2022 7.42pm
Reply to  A Rakyat 888

All pha. Where have you drift away. You love to write rozak? Does not follow the context of the topics to be discuss? Any as Senior of 88 can be forgive but not forget

Harimau Tua
Harimau Tua
10 Dec 2022 5.25pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Promote the smartphone app that tells you the bus arrival time.

shriek
shriek
11 Dec 2022 9.38pm
Reply to  Harimau Tua

bus comes every 1/2 to 45 mins okay? Bus are like sardines – crowded and literally tin kosong. Bus pick up and go and stuck in traffic? Still naik bas?

luca
luca
12 Dec 2022 5.58pm
Reply to  shriek

Why not ask saddling car loan debt, paying for petrol, road tax, parking, traffic Saman and car maintenance?

Take bus or Grab and you are free from those troubles of car ownership.

Shriek
Shriek
13 Dec 2022 5.13am
Reply to  luca

If late to work , boss ask you not to come. No income, bigger debt. Or has to wake up every early to catch public bus. Affect health.

Brocky
Brocky
16 Dec 2022 12.33pm
Reply to  Shriek

Ha ha. In this case problem is the boss, not the public bus. Such unreasonable and demanding boss will affect your mental health.

shriek
shriek
16 Dec 2022 9.24pm
Reply to  Brocky

you think is lone ranger work? it is team work. it is a production work. Go and tell schools or government depart to allow late counter workers and orso same with banks. They can come late like their own business? Warung and kopi tiam workers can come late?

Jialat69
Jialat69
16 Dec 2022 3.39pm
Reply to  Shriek

A good boss will allow flexi working hours to suits its employees. A good boss is understanding that not everyone can afford to own a car.

Do not work for a shriekingly kiasu boss.

shriek
shriek
16 Dec 2022 9.28pm
Reply to  Jialat69

Why not tell TNB, Water board, kopi tiam, bus drivers, taxi drivers, uber, postman, delivery. Or when you order your food and drinks, you will be jumping like malau if they are late. Fly can be flexible at any time for the pilot to take off> Next if you are in emergency, ambulance or bridge come late?

Shriek
Shriek
23 Dec 2022 11.33pm
Reply to  Jialat69

You think boss like shrieking worker come in as they like and shriek demanding they come to work as they like? Unless it is an opis work. May as well tell boss you want to work at home like ang moh?

Sirius
29 Dec 2022 7.29pm
Reply to  Shriek

The Penang state government has announced that it will be continuing the free bus ride programme next year with an even bigger allocation. The Unlimited Travel Pass, better known as Mutiara Pass, allows users to use Rapid Penang bus services throughout the state at any time which is almost similar in nature to Rapid KL’s My50 pass.

luca
luca
14 Dec 2022 12.29pm
Reply to  Harimau Tua

Use Moovit app:

https://moovitapp.com/index/ms/pengangkutan_awam-lines-Penang-5390-1122251

Untuk lihat jadual waktu, masa-masa ketibaan Bas RapidPenang dan hentian-hentian.

Rambo
Rambo
29 Dec 2022 11.38am
Reply to  luca

Penang Forum must highlight this app in its promotions of public transport. No need for Penang Forumers to ride bicycles to provide gimmick in their publicity stunt.

Harimau Tua
Harimau Tua
30 Dec 2022 11.46am
Reply to  Rambo

Good point. Hit the target straight….

Shriek
Shriek
30 Dec 2022 7.31pm
Reply to  Rambo

Bicycle is good for riding up to 1/2 hour, in the city and traffic jam.

Shriek
Shriek
30 Dec 2022 7.28pm
Reply to  Harimau Tua

You want to wait? With LRT, you know you will wait for 15 mins at the most. In KL, the waiting time is less than 10mins and the train will not be interrupted by traffic jams or road flood

luca
luca
10 Jan 2023 7.12am
Reply to  Anil Netto

Chicken and egg situation now: Chicken price up, egg still in shortage!

luca
luca
14 Dec 2022 12.41pm

Penangites prefer food talk more than transportation.

Now Michelin has set foot on Penang, expect the food price to go up with foreign recognition, not good for local customers.

https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/living/2022/12/13/malaysia039s-first-ever-michelin-stars-awarded-to-4-restaurants-in-kl-and-penang

I think we can trust the taste of local food maestro (like tunglang). The Michelin food inspectors have taste buds suited for foreigners. I hope local food maestros do not sell out to Michelin.

PCH
PCH
15 Dec 2022 2.42am
Reply to  luca

Tunglang could have been one of the Michelin taste inspectors.

By the way, Ali Nasi Lemak at Beach Street Sri Weld Food court is now RM2.50 a packet (an awkward upward jump from RM2). Now with Michelin certification, in no time it could be RM2.80 a packet (still very cheap to foreign admirers).

Cleo Ho
Cleo Ho
16 Dec 2022 11.14am
Reply to  PCH

No need for Michelin recognition, we know what is best. The Michelin inspectors have different preferences, putting food presentation as a criteria – this is not necessary as it adds cost to the price. Keep the street or hawker food affordable when our Ringgit is low in value, not for the foreign tourists!

Nandos
Nandos
18 Dec 2022 1.44pm
Reply to  Cleo Ho

Still need colonial ang moh to tell us if our food is up to their standard?

The Singapore FOODIE expert Seetoh’s makansutra rating (die did must try) is more relevant and definitive.

PCH
PCH
12 Dec 2022 6.27pm

Countdown 13 days to Christmas and wish those who celebrate this festive season a wonderful time.

Enjoy the music by Bonfire :

https://youtu.be/zDI0OGST7e0

Brocky
Brocky
15 Dec 2022 9.46pm
Reply to  PCH

The Simpsons with Andrea Bocelli:
Feliz Navidad

Sirius
21 Dec 2022 10.16am
Reply to  PCH

Nostalgic Boney M version for all senior readers in anilverse:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ZogwjTln2PM&feature=youtu.be

Merry Christmas!

Alive
Alive
30 Dec 2022 1.53pm
Reply to  Sirius

I noticed several shopping malls were playing instrumental Christmas songs (minus vocal) so as not to offend the conservative Muslim patrons?

“Mary’s Boy Child” in instrumental form without the vocal of Boney M still sounds great and you can sing along.

Fauziah
Fauziah
11 Dec 2022 6.34pm

If the focus is on car ownership, then the only available transport plan is to build more roads.

There has never been any concerted effort to promote public transportation.

Shriek
Shriek
13 Dec 2022 5.15am
Reply to  Fauziah

Central gomen taking over public transport under Umno’s time

Shriek
Shriek
23 Dec 2022 11.35pm
Reply to  Shriek

Umno gomen willing to spend ~ 50b in mrt. Penang gets sis kosong

Brocky
Brocky
13 Dec 2022 4.07pm
Reply to  Fauziah

The number of vehicles in Malaysia has overtaken the human population, with an increase of at least a million vehicles annually since 2019.

Last year, there were 33.3 million registered vehicles nationwide versus the human population, which stood at 32.6 million.

http://www.nst.com.my/amp/news/nation/2022/06/803654/vehicles-outnumber-people-malaysia

Jolly
Jolly
14 Dec 2022 4.46pm
Reply to  Brocky

Young adults got into debt buying first car. Why can’t they use motorcycle instead?

Try RapidPenang and get used to some inconvenience. The LRT is very much welcomed.

Shriek
Shriek
15 Dec 2022 4.45am
Reply to  Jolly

If travel very often and wasted 1/2 to 45 mins every trip, how many hours wasted in 1 day and year? Ah pek and Ah mAh had to squeeze like salted fish in sardine bus? Only the young and brave cowboys can do it

Nandos
Nandos
18 Dec 2022 1.41pm
Reply to  Shriek

I see more people wasting time circling looking for parking space, added stress no good for health especially illegal parking kena vandalised or saman.

Shriek
Shriek
18 Dec 2022 8.30pm
Reply to  Nandos

Chip skate. Go and pay in private car parks. Even those in mercs or bmw try to find chip or free parking space

glissantia
glissantia
19 Dec 2022 2.53pm
Reply to  Nandos

Limiting parking spaces can be a good thing, but there must be planning, evaualtion, discussion and creation of necessary facilities. E.g., public transport. Bolehland administrators “shoot from the hip” or “try to stretch their legs before sitting down” (Malay proverb). Usually, their zeal is due to suggestion from a crony industrialist or business person.

Sweden is aiming for complete electrification of urban transpor – even local boats. Most deliveries will be by scooter.

shriek
shriek
16 Dec 2022 9.31pm
Reply to  Jolly

if is inconvenient, it is unproductive. Workers spent 8 hours work and 3 to 4 hours to take transport to and back from work. This is what Penang kias think ok, very good?

Sirius
21 Dec 2022 9.38am
Reply to  shriek

Depend on how you utilise your time – while on transportation can listen to podcast (many motivational and inspirational talks), watch YouTube (Ted Talk) or even relaxed with eyes closed.

But driving a car can be stressful – road bullies, traffic jam, no parking lot etc.

Shriek
Shriek
30 Dec 2022 7.34pm
Reply to  Sirius

You can do it only if you have a seat. But ah pek, ah man and ambutant person needs the seat more than you

Sirius
21 Dec 2022 9.35am
Reply to  Jolly

Young single Chinese will never ride a motorcycle to be typecast as loser in the eyes of potential spouses (bin chui factor). After having a car on loan, the next thing is to accessories it with sound system, spot light and fancy decor to look unique and differentiated.

Most young malays are happy with kapcai for dual purposes of food delivery and rempit.

glissantia
glissantia
21 Dec 2022 1.33pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Because the gomen (a) ensures extensive public transport (b) hits those with show-off ideas in the pocket (c) reduces budget dependence on road tax, petrol tax, insurance, toll, etc. (d) reduces political dependence on big donors.

Shriek
Shriek
21 Dec 2022 5.44pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

One has to buy licence or permit to own a car in sink apor. The buses are very convenient and clean. Drivers are taught to service passengers not just drive.

PCH
PCH
23 Dec 2022 10.01pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Young Europeans can hug and kiss inside bus, but deem inappropriate in Bolehland.

Shriek
Shriek
21 Dec 2022 5.41pm
Reply to  Sirius

Why former transport minister and PhD in transport does instruct TAR university to conduct motor cycle or car defensive riding

Shriek
Shriek
21 Dec 2022 5.37pm
Reply to  Jolly

It is not some but many. The bus frequency should be 15min. max. During peak hours, no cars on bus lanes and bus had the right to turn traffic light green, not pas green

PCH
PCH
23 Dec 2022 10.04pm
Reply to  Shriek

Impose high levy on private car ownership, then less vehicles on roads for bus to be fast and more punctual.
However, this is near impossible as no one in authority dare to implement such policy as it is political suicide.

Shriek
Shriek
27 Dec 2022 12.55am
Reply to  PCH

Under MCa, they don’t have any efficient and good transport. The transport has missing links and better own cars or bike than taking a very pack bus and goes jerking with stop and go

Silverberg
Silverberg
8 Dec 2022 5.22pm

Anil and Aliran have been kpkb on this matter for so long – becoming like Astro keep repeating old shows for paid customers.

The root cause to the problem is high car ownership and high vehicle density and the reluctance to adopt public transportation.

PCH
PCH
9 Dec 2022 5.18pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

State reserves definitely cannot finance massive PTMP so have to rely on private investment in 3 artificial islands.

Remember years ago Gerakan created the Jelutong coastal highway by giving concessions to IJM, now reaping the benefits by exclusively developing reclaimed Eastern island coastlialne (eg The Light project).

Owning a car is ‘bin chui’ factor a must for the young folks, otherwise lose face taking RapidPenang or Grab on a date even if the dinner menu is expensive.

Jialat69
Jialat69
11 Dec 2022 7.37pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

To prevent the encroachment of green wave (of religious one, not environmental), it makes sense to make Penang island as cosmopolitan as much as possible. In that case it makes sense fir high end properties (ok for MM2H), not kampong living. I am been realistic here, although many people especially the NGOs are very idealistic.

Walter Smith
Walter Smith
14 Dec 2022 4.09pm
Reply to  Jialat69

You are right. To preserve the demographic of the island this has to be done in order to prevent the onslaught of green movement of religious kind!

Harimau Tua
Harimau Tua
10 Dec 2022 5.15pm
Reply to  PCH

Car ownership is about face value especially for those entering the workforce. It is rather shameful if you could not drive out for lunch, let alone giving a ride to your potential spouse.

But targeted fuel subsidy may make car ownership expensive for M40 if the subsidised petrol could be RM3/litre. Not sure if Anwar and his cabinet has the courage to make such implementation.

shriek
shriek
11 Dec 2022 9.41pm
Reply to  PCH

but they enjoy giving support to the enviro. as usual – nimby and for fun in supporting?

shriek
shriek
9 Dec 2022 7.52pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

start – 1. what is the bicycle usage? Why Penang Forum talk and talk. Can do some surveyS? Expect NY to do it? 2. Use e bike? 3. Pool cars Save petrol and only drive maybe 1 day as there are 5 in a car

PCH
PCH
14 Dec 2022 3.54am
Reply to  shriek

Bayan Baru YB Sim has been promoting riding bicycles (likewise Penang Forum’s Ex MPPP Lim MF) and Shriek can engage them via Anil to sustain such mobility efforts.

Cleo Ho
Cleo Ho
16 Dec 2022 11.11am
Reply to  PCH

Sim can now spend more time in Penang to serve the Bayan Baru folks now that he is not in DSAI’s cabinet. He could study the recent election plan by MCA and Gerakan, adopt and adapt some of the good plan for the benefit of the residents, other than his cycling plan.

PCH
PCH
14 Dec 2022 4.01am
Reply to  shriek

Car pooling for FTZ factories? Why no such planning as Corporate Social Responsibilities by those Corporate folks as green initiatives? Penang Forum can kickstart such idea?
Easy survey : every morning rush hours you can witness most FTZ bound cars are driven without passengers (missing 4 in a car).

Walter Smith
Walter Smith
14 Dec 2022 4.10pm
Reply to  PCH

Good idea and the NGO must initiate this to prevent car congestion and more pollution. Just too many cars with a single driver with no passenger!

Fauziah
Fauziah
15 Dec 2022 11.48am
Reply to  Walter Smith

A lot of talk from Penang Forum little action and car pooling is one area they could have helped to initiate. This will save cost and reduce traffic congestion especially in Bayan Lepas industrial zone during peak hours.

Nandos
Nandos
24 Dec 2022 11.54am

PTMP bloated in response to bloated vehicle growth. Get to the root cause and the problem could be solved. Most people cherish their car like their spouses, but complain about traffic jam and new roads. How ironic.

Sirius
26 Dec 2022 10.56am

The Penang State Government is set to introduce another free cross-channel bus service in the state which would link Bukit Mertajam on the mainland to Komtar Bus Terminal on the island side in George Town. NGOs like Penang Forum should highlight and promote this bus service.

Ong Loke Xian
Ong Loke Xian
27 Dec 2022 6.50pm
Reply to  Sirius

Can take the free bus to explore good food in a one day trip to Bukit Mertajam. Anil can update use when the service is available.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ong Loke Xian
Shriek
Shriek
30 Dec 2022 7.25pm

Dhaka capital of Bangla had MRT build with China expertise. The MRT is better designed and more pleasing than KL What is the modern transport? Buses? Kapcai, perdua or proton? LRT or MRT

glissantia
glissantia
10 Dec 2022 2.24pm

Dy. Ministers: More money down the drain.

Multiple pensions: Syed Sadiq revealed that a person keeps all the earlier pensions, e.g., as civil servant, town council rep, state rep, MP and Minister. He may then get paid as a “director” in a GLC or major business.

A Rakyat 888
11 Dec 2022 11.11am
Reply to  glissantia

And so, our PM’s no take salary and the Ministers’ 20% salary reduction becomes meaningless when the Government pays out thousands of millions of Ringgit in overlapping multiple pensions and maybe other forms also that we may not know of, to politicians. 

Will our PM be looking into this. His guaranteed promise to halve the cabinet ministers was not achieved. So, much for guaranteed promises.

Jialat69
Jialat69
11 Dec 2022 7.34pm
Reply to  glissantia

I read 3 times and still cannot understand your message in relation to the topic of discussion. What does pension have to do with Penang transportation?

glissantia
glissantia
10 Dec 2022 1.24pm

Ministers’ cars: Has new govt. stopped the practice of selling the old ministers’ cars to the previous ministers for a nominal sum and buying more expensive cars? Reportedly, the civil service had the cheek to order a new car for the PM without his approval.

Ministers’ own home renovations and grants of land: Will this stop?

ITDP: Nothing from U$ is objective or just. Even a citizen who displeases the Empire may be drone-bombed.

luca
luca
13 Dec 2022 7.59am
Reply to  glissantia

Ministers can forgo their salary since the perks and allowances can offset the losses.

Sirius
26 Dec 2022 8.23am
Reply to  glissantia

With information on government policies ahead of anyone, ruling politicians can make a killing at stock market by contra transaction, earning more than salary in one transaction.