Penang Hill Railway ‘upgrade’: From RM40m to RM73m


Initial news reports for the Penang Hill Railway ‘upgrade’ had mentioned an allocation of RM40m. But later news reports put the cost at RM63m and finally RM73m.

According to an NST report, former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had agreed to Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s appeal for RM40 million. (The component had initially been removed from the list of Ninth Malaysia Plan projects during its mid-term review of the 9MP.) The reinstatement of the allocation was welcomed by the Penang state government.

The project was tendered out by the Public Works Department and fell under the Tourism Ministry.

The contractor, Alam Langkawi Sdn Bhd, based in Penang, was tasked with designing and building the electrical control system as well as the haulage rope replacement and reinstatement on the hill railway.

The local track work was undertaken by Alam Langkawi’s local subcontractor.

The main supplier is a firm called Garaventa of Switzerland, which works in association with Alam Langkawi. Garavanta’s sub-contractors were Sisag (electronics), CWA (carriage) and Wampfler (power supply).

An alternative smaller-scale and less fancy plan put forward by ‘friends of Penang Hill’ – which would have cost just RM20m – was ignored or rejected.

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Ah Soon is so pissed off that LGE did not make him the Chief Consultant for his Bestest of Best Traffic Masterplan. So any chance he gets he will attack LGE.
It is a Federal project and yes, there was a problem when there were only 2 windows open for selling tickets. So??? Learn from those non-fatal errors and improve.
Don’t tell me in your place of work everything has been PERFECT from Day 1!! Even the top Japanese co have Contininous Improvement Teams doing improvement projects all the time.

tan, tanjung bungah

Hi everyone,

You’re lucky if the cost-overrun is only about 80%, more likely that projects by UMNO/BN would entail cost overruns of much more!

OES must be so biased that he blamed this cost-overrun on the State Govt and LGE! This is a federal project, totally decided by UMNO/BN on who to award the project to. No consultation with the State Govt. The project is only handed over to the State Govt on completion, even then certain documents, spare parts and terms and conditions of contract with suppliers and contractors are still NOT handed over to the State Govt!


A common Chinese saying goes like this: ‘Sin Sai’.
Taking over a ‘s…’ responsibility. That is exactly what LGE has got in his hands from Ng Yen Yen.


This is obvious “Satu lagi projek barisan nasional”. When compare to Barisan nasional government … handout, sewage treatment plant siphon looks much cleaner than that.


Anil Is Najib taking steps to address the brain drain problem by annouching that all SPM holders with 8 A1s will be given scholarships, as a desperate move to delay the departure of top brain? Anyway we can also argue that straight-As does not mean top brain given our education system and standard? There are a few more “crutches” that need dismantling quickly and I suggest an easy one would be the removal of the 8% to 15% housing discount for Bumis who already own a house. This is a most unfair practice as it really only benefits the very… Read more »


Its been 53 years of corruptions, arrogance and untransprency by BN & UMNO.
Why keep complaining !!!!!
Go for the change at the next GE.
Change is what we need now.

Ong Eu Soon

How can the project cost fluctuated so much under the nose of LGe. This is a gross negligent! Call it a scandal, is not too much. A proof of incompetency of LGe. Lge rather fail than do nothing, he would rather let BN cronies suck us dry without scrutinize the work done. One more BN development project endorsed by LGe mean not opposition, no watch dog, no accountability, no transparency, no competency as LGe has no eyes to see. LGe not only fails as CM, he also fails as the opposition leader. If he only want development, he can quits… Read more »


What has Lim GE got to do with this?
This is a federal project using our tax money from the federal government.
Lim GE cannot reject and has no right of participation.
He can only make local laws, where applicable, difficult for the federal government to implement federal projects in Penang.

If Lim GE keeps on rejecting federal assistance, gone too will be our FDIs which are supported by MIDA .


If LGE cannot do nothing, who is going to be the watch dog of future Fed Fat Satu Lagi Projek, some of which are potentially dangerous/hazardous to Penangites’ safety? As an example, take the case of the tilting arch at Botanic Garden. Had it been allowed to be completed, wait till one fateful day the tilting arch fall with unspeakable casualties. Who’s to be blamed by then? LGE? Are Penangites taken as fools or leave-to-chance guinea pigs of sub-standard and potentially dangerous Fed Fat projects? The dirty game of red carrots with (alleged) inserted poison is too well know to… Read more »


Not until you understand how Malaysia the great Bolehland federal government function. Do you know 1. State government has NO AUTHORITY to fire any government servant even they make catastrophic mistake? 2. Various local municipal council worker NEVER answer to local nor the state government, they just answer to federal government. That is the simple state government servant level. So when talking about federal government controlled project, did you ever find law that allowed people to intervene on wrong doing , pork barrel handout and corruption within? … So you want to play the roles of hell rider to “fix”… Read more »


To wait till disaster happens (knowing it (may) happen)? Then, only then will howl … what the hell is happening? Too late, my friend…

That attitude of waiting for accidents to happen I would call slow donkey mentality.

Who would want anything bad to happen in his home?


The worst case scenario is, when the hill railway train accidentally dysfunctions…

How’s that for not being able to do anything ‘preventive’ beforehand?

Fire or sue LGE? (Obviously, it is now under state responsibility. Pl check the news on the day LGE was passed this questionable toy train).


Federal govt finished the hill railway project and passed to the state government. The cats were already well fed.

If the state government had rejected the upgrade by refusing to participate in the management after completion, guess what might happen? We would never get any upgrade.

At least now we know the feds made a mess of this. If LGE has refused participation, he would have been seen to be antagonistic.

Penang is a state.
Not a country.
Get to know the rights and powers of a state government before you condemn it for poor performance.


So to continue receiving the mess, that’s the right way to go? No other option? It is not completely the state fault, wira. We need the development money. But to be helpless sitting ducks or worst, donkeys is not the reasonable option in the name of development fund. Precious lives are at stake, our loved ones are at stake, do you understand? The safety issues. Look at it more introspectively rather than take it at face value of corruptions, etc, etc. (If) innocent lives are lost just to get LGE as scapegoat is not worth it for Penangites not doing… Read more »


Is the lack of spares a safety issue? A parked train is not a hazard to any passenger. It is only an annoyance to users.

Should LGE reject everything that is intended for the state just because he smelled a crony behind the deal?

Better have 50%… of our tax money back than none at all.


So the tilting arch at BG should have been left standing in the first place? Don’t complain, keep both eyes closed. And pray it won’t fall any day! No option to take!
And the train project wasn’t scrutinized, just let it be. Surely safe!


Not that I support the arch at our Botanic garden but to say that a tilting arch will be allowed to be left standing even though it tilts or that some structure that tilts will immediately kill is stretching the safety theory to beyond its limit of elasticity or, imagination.


Just to get back 50% of our Ah Kong’s money with messes after messes to clear and questionable standards of development (safety, aesthetics, functionality) is beyond me. For that, we are as culpable for the wastage of already scarce national coffers as the corrupts. Taking things for granted is being lackasaidical. Soon, Penang will be the dumping ground for Questionable Satu Lagi Projeks with no regards for Penangites. Dumping ground is no live-able ground for living people. It means not cranking brains to start with. Where’s the people’s power to choose, to intervene, to have a say in what’s happening… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

Anil, NGO know nut the proposal is not worth consideration. Under the nose of LGe, Ng Yen Yen can delivered a bad and lousy quality train. After assume the post of CM, LGe lost his sense of direction, he only want development disregard for any other thing. He rather fail than do nothing. How the train can escape his scrutiny? BN should rethink their strategy,may be BN should let a few more outspoken PR leaders become CM or MB, then their mouth and eyes will be shut…. More over, LGe is proven to be BN cronies friendly when come to… Read more »


any project within budget and without delays is not a BN project.

this is the same ministry that appointed a taiwanese pharmaceutical company to build our country’s showcase (leaking) building in Shanghai expo. I stand corrected if my facts are wrong, ,MCA.


So ‘little’ for my Flaws in earlier ‘upgraded’ Penang Hill Railway allocation/cost comparison:
2010 Upgrading Price Tag = RM63m
2011 Upgrading Price Tag = RM73m

Revised version should read:
2008 Upgrading Price Tag = RM40m
2011 Upgrading Price Tag = RM73m

At 82.5% increase over 3 years! That’s humongous than measly Base Lending Rate. And put that on an 8-figure principle, Soros will have red eyes over Satu Lagi Projek in Boleh Land!

Andrew I

Outdoing Shylock.


This is not uncommmon in our country, a ‘standard practice’.
You can win construction tender with low cost, only to jack up the price later to make the money. No question asked as ‘the other party’ will also stand to gain.

We need to wipe out such ill practice. … Rakyat money is wasted! As a taxpayer I am disgusted.


Just imagine how much the cost of KL MRT system will finally balloon to from the current RM53 billion by CIMB Research?

The MRT recipe for overpaying: Award contracts first, decide fees later!!!

Ric Francis

Please Minister do not make me laugh New System OH YEH Did not put new sleeps in still old 80year old steel ones very little upgrade of per-way base .No thought of rail safety faulty electric power pickups .Problem is train breaks down you have to alight over high power lines.An do not mention if train stops in tunnel no clearance to alight.How about a air-conditional that can not be adjusted.So we have to freeze all the way
Do not blame present staff The buck stops with you.
Some thing smells and not in Penang thank you.
Ric Francis