Penang tunnel land swap controversy


More land reclamation rights reportedly will be handed over to the companies building the controversial 6.5km Penang tunnel and other road projects.

Why are we putting in more infrastructure for cars rather than public transport? Who approved the tunnel project? Who approved the RM8b cost for these projects?

Was there any discussion and planning? This is being done before the Penang Transport Master Plan is ready or any public feedback is received. While China is investing big-time in more sustainable transport (railways), here we are inviting Chinese firms to build a tunnel and roads for private motor vehicles. This at a time when oil/petrol prices are destined to rise and the island is getting choked with cars. How short-sighted can we get?

How much land will be given away and what does “nearby reclaimed land” mean? How many acres are we talking about? Over 700 acres (assuming reclaimed land is valued at around RM250psf going by the Bayan Mutiara valuation)? No land for affordable housing but plenty of land reclamation rights to give away?

Does this mean, with this land swap deal, the tunn

Has there been any serious discussion and debate in the Penang State Assembly about this? Is this going to be presented to the public as a fait accompli like the Spice convention centre? The tunnel project is not just at MOU stage as it has been announced that work will start in 2013 (see below).

Excerpt from a report in The Star:

Foreign giants keen on RM8bil Penang infrastructure jobs
[email protected]

GEORGE TOWN: Several foreign giants apart from China’s Beijing Urban Construction Group (BUCG), namely Citic Group of China, South Korea’s SK Group, as well as couple of Japanese conglomerates and one Singapore company have expressed interest to bid for some RM8bil worth of infrastructure jobs in Penang.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the funding of these crucial road works would be done via a land swap.

“We will finance these projects by land swap as they are expensive. The land will be nearby reclaimed land, which means they will own a certain acreage. These companies appear to be interested (in these projects) even though they involve a land swap. We might as well use something to improve traffic,” Lim said in an interview after opening the one-day investPenang seminar organised by ECM Libra Financial Group Bhd recently.

The interested parties, according to Lim, had been told to submit their request for proposals (RFP) which would also include their recommendation on land usage by year-end.

In April, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Penang government and BUCG for a proposed traffic-alleviation project. Even so, Lim said the RFP was open to other interested parties apart from BUCG.

The projects include the 6.5km tunnel job (from Gurney Drive to Butterworth) which takes up the bulk of the RM8bil cost, the 4.2km Gurney Drive-Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu bypass, and 4.6km Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu-Bandar Baru Air Itam bypass. The proposed tunnel project will be the third link between Penang and Butterworth.

“We need to find a way to disperse traffic and with these projects, we will complete the loop. We’ve revived the idea of a third link and want to get it done,” he said.

The pricing for the third link, said Lim, would be higher as “people still use tunnel as it’s shorter … about one quarter length of the second bridge.” He expects work on the project to start earliest by 2013 although he would like it to start the end of next year if he had his way.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
21 Sep 2011 1.44pm

Are there any maps availeble on the internet so we can see where the proposed road will be build between Tanjung Bungah and Teluk Bahang

17 Sep 2011 5.26pm

eu soon,

at least reclaimed lands for infrastructure. and it is going to be tendered out, I bet.

go back to your koh, the Deputy CM to UMNO CM> reclaim lands to IJM for perpetuity and what did the state get? Nothing (much)! btw, who controls IJM. Go check it out yourself Same goes to E&O.

who is above the law? Have you heard of Port Klang Fleece Trade Zone equivalent in Penang? ABU.

17 Sep 2011 7.50pm
Reply to  mmc

Why not go back further to Lim Chong EU period where land reclamation was undertaken by PDC and then resold the land to developers.

KST and LGE are both suck to let private companies to reclaim land. Land is only valuable resource for state government, Singapore land nationalization model should be used.

tan cairong
tan cairong
17 Sep 2011 5.23pm

Instead of building a tunnel from Butterworth to Gurney Drive and bring in more traffic, it is more worthwhile to bore a tunnel under Penang Hill. From Google map the distance from Paya Terubong to Jalan Balik Pulau is only about 3 km, not much more than the tunnel at Jelapang. This will open up Balik Pulau and the rise in land price there will or toll can pay for the construction. The population growth in Balik Pulau will feed the labour need on the island and reduce people commuting from the main land. Then raise the toll on both… Read more »

17 Sep 2011 3.04pm

interesting article from Spore Business Times : Penang’s Economy Buziing Again : Penang in numbers * Population 1.6 million * Foreign Direct Investments (2005 to 2011) 2005: RM4.8 billion 2006: RM5.3 billion 2007: RM4.7 billion 2008: RM10.1 billion 2009: RM2.1 billion 2010: RM12.2 billion 2011 (to June): RM4.6 billion (S$1.9 billion) * Major investors United States, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, Taiwan, Netherlands * Foreign tourist arrivals 2007: 447,800 2008: 464,400 2009: 464,200 2010: 629,000 2011 (to July): 360,000 * Medical Tourism 2006: 191,000 foreign patients with RM129 million in receipts 2007: 215,000 foreign patients with RM156 million in… Read more »

17 Sep 2011 2.19pm

if the readers can read the full Star report (Fri) highlighted by Anil : a) Land swap deal (all those reclaimed land matter raised by Anil past few days). According to The Star, it is to gain RM8 Billion to build infrastructures like more roads to alleviate traffic jam. May be Penang gomen lack direct financial support from Federal hence resort to such swap deal ? If swap deal benefits the locals by creating more jobs, then by all means go ahead. Bear in mind Penang Gomen forsee in future more than half of state revenues coming from Service (eg… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon
Ong Eu Soon
17 Sep 2011 2.02pm

This CM is above laws, he think that he can do anything he like. Soon all our assets will be sold to fund his so called DEVELOPMENT. Why we need the tunnel when the existing bridge after expansion has not reached the bottom-neck? The second bridge is under construction which might turn out to be a white elephant. After the launched the half past six BEST solution, he has no ideas how to expand it with wider service areas and work on how to further improve the bus service. All now LGe want is to build more roads and more… Read more »

17 Sep 2011 7.44pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

RM700 million extra income from sPICE is still no enough for the golden son. Greedy knows no limit!…

He argued he knew nothing Kancil car park under his jurisdiction as PDC Chairman, and he has no shy to hide that he flexed his muscle on MPPP, a role outside his jurisdiction.

Penang People
Penang People
19 Sep 2011 12.29pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

Did you really understand the deal correctly?LGE said the land swap will involve reclaimed land.He is not referring to a big piece of prime land. Busses need roads to move.If the roads are so congested, do you think bus system can work effectively?Why are you people so against development?Without development and proper infrastructure, do you think Penang can be attractive to investors?And without investors, how can the state generate income?When the gov. was building the 1st Pg Bridge, people also complained that it would become a white elephant.Is it a white elephant now?Now you people are saying the same thing… Read more »

14 Nov 2011 8.11pm
Reply to  Ong Eu Soon

when was the last time you dropped by Butterworth? When was the last time you witnessed the tiny congested roads in Penang …vs that of the FT? When was the last time a road was even built in the state?
If the arguement is for rail transport…how overdue is the double tracting up north?
If you think a rail link ON the island is the best you think it is cheaper and one that can be borne 100% by private enterprise?
Pls refrain from personal political coments if you do not have anything concrete to offer.

17 Sep 2011 1.32pm

bigjoe : Buses need less road than you imagine. Since you say ” cars is the only way to pay for it” well. Do you mean “TOLL road”. Otherwise, there is no way the pathetic road tax enough to pay for the road building cost.

BTW, all those “giant” China company are mostly own by the state, and Chian trying to “exporting” such construction work to prevent it from further bloated China inflation.

17 Sep 2011 11.18am

The basic fact is that Penang Island little above 700K population and the mainland about 500K. The only affordable public transport system is – buses. Anything else would require not some but MASSIVE subsidies. Buses means roads – you require 3 lane(each way) for efficiency. Roads cannot be paid for by buses either – cars is the only way to pay for it and even then, as the tunnel economic telling, require very very significant subsidy. Like it or not, the choices sucks. But we are getting all excited over just ‘interest’. The fact of the matter is its very… Read more »