As congestion worsens, Penang asks Putrajaya to fulfil public transport pledge


Penang is asking the federal government to fulfil its pledge on public transport by building an LRT or MRT system – but the danger with that is the state could risk having a monorail system dumped on it!

A tram cruising along a narrow street of Japan.
A tram cruising along a narrow street in Japan.

Somehow I don’t think the federal government is in a hurry to improve the public transport situation in Penang. Why, just getting 200 new buses for Rapid Penang is taking so long. We are told the buses will arrive in stages over the next two years: 80 buses were supposed to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the remaining 120 next year. Are they here already? Why does it have to take so long just to get additional buses?

Penang is even prepared to pay for RM10m per year for free bus services during peak hours, but the federal government is not playing ball. Why?

Meanwhile, the rail double-tracking project from KL to Butterworth (right now, only KL to Ipoh is operational) was supposed to be ready in January 2013. This would allow passengers to travel from KL to Butterworth in three or four hours. And it should reduce traffic significantly along the North-South Expressway.

Cairo brings back trams

Over in the Gold Coast, Australia, rail is making a comeback with new trams;

And Aruba in the Caribbean Sea is trying out a solar-powered tram system as the nation aims to be energy independent:

As for the Penang state government/State Planning Committee/MPPP, it should have thought about congestion before approving high-density property developent, raising density levels from 30 units/acre to 87 units/acre and even 150 units/acre, and embarking on the road tunnel project, when a cross-channel rail link would have made more sense. It should also tell us the status of the Penang Island Local Plan.

The letter from the Penang Chief Minister to the Acting Transport Minister:

26 November 2013

YB Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein
Pemangku Menteri Pengangkutan
Kementerian Pengangkutan Malaysia
Blok D5, Kompleks D
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan

YB Datuk Seri,


Dengan hormatnya saya ingin menarik perhatian YB Datuk Seri berhubung perkara tersebut di atas.

2. Dimaklumkan bahawa jumlah kenderaan keluar-masuk ke negeri ini kian bertambah dan menyebabkan kesesakan lalulintas yang kian meruncing. Kerajaan Negeri mengharapkan janji mantan Perdana Menteri dan juga YAB Perdana Menteri kini untuk membina dan membiayai sistem perkhidmatan LRT atau MRT dapat ditunaikan. Sungguhpun Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang lebih cenderung kepada sistem ‘tram’, maka Kerajaan Negeri sedia menerima sistem pengangkutan awam yang dipilih dan dibiayai oleh Kerajaan Pusat.

3. Pada masa yang sama, Kerajaan Negeri telah menerima pelbagai tawaran bagi projek pengangkutan awam alternatif di Pulau Pinang daripada syarikat-syarikat dalam dan luar negara. Kerajaan Negeri sedia bekerjasama dan berbincang dengan Kementerian YB Datuk Seri bagi merealisasikan pewujudan pengangkutan awam alternatif di Pulau Pinang dengan tujuan mengurangkan masalah kesesakan lalulintas yang dihadapi kini.

4. Justeru itu, kerjasama dan jasa baik YB Datuk Seri adalah dipohon untuk mempertimbangkan permohonan ini bagi menunaikan janji mantan Perdana Menteri dan YAB Perdana Menteri kini ataupun sebagai alternatifnya, memberikan kuasa penuh kepada Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang untuk mengendalikan dan mengawalselia perjalanan sistem pengangkutan awam yang dipilih sebagai paling sesuai oleh Kerajaan Negeri. Pihak saya bersedia untuk berjumpa dengan YB Datuk Seri bagi membincangkan perkara tersebut dengan lebih teliti.

Sekian, terima kasih.

Yang ikhlas,

Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang

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OM Saigal

Perhaps, to think outside the circle, a Proton minibus…?


Post 505 Barang Naik watch :

a) Ron 95 Patrol
b) Sugar
c) Electricity etc
enough to jumpstart rise in lebih Barang Naik.
Eg if u not aware just heard cement (ask Lafarge) likely go up (then houses) and flour (your roti canai and daily bread)………


Cukai pintu pun naik!

Don Anamalai

Price of flour will go up 10%.

Expect your roti (Gardeia or Massimo) to go up in price soon.

High income nation? More like High Price Nation!.

semuanya OK kot

Buses, bicycles and other simpler transport as well as general public safety (necessary for people to move about freely) are major dangers to capitalism. If the traffic cleared up, what would happen to the MRT, LRT, highways, petroleum industries, motor car industries, “AP” licences, traffic and pollution consultants, multi-billion-dollar international loans, commissions…

Plain Truth

We need to reduce the density per acre on the Penang Island and encourage more Penangites to live on the mainland.

LGE must not be so subservient to the developers.


If you cannot bear the high cost in the island, then you better migrate to mainland in order to have a better quality of living.


Another idea, set up and moderate a car pull social media site for people to find passenger or driver, or even taxi AND reward the faithful car-pullers. I suspect we can cut down traffic in and out bayan lepas and perai by 30% during rush hours.


Denmark Ambassador Nicolai Ruge said that besides promoting bicycle lanes around Penang, the authorities will further encourage people by cycling to work themselves.

“In Copenhagen, more than 50% of the people cycle to get from one place to another.

“They also cycle to trains stations or use public transportation if they want to go further,” he said.

semuanya OK kot

Just learn from the many projects completed in other countries. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.

So far, the local news is bad. Petaling Jaya spend RM 20 or 25 milion for just one cycle path of about 4 km.


Since the state government has RM 10 million in annual budget to improve traffic condition. it should use this money as direct incentive to encourage people to stay away from their cars. Reward car pullers, build conducive pedestrian pavements in Georgetown where most places are stone throw away, get ideas from taxi drivers to mobilise them in the most effective way.


The Star: salaries and allowan­ces of the 40 state assemblymen in Penang are expected to increase by about 84% next year. A source said a proposal for the pay increase would be tabled in the state assembly on Nov 29. Increase in next year’s assessment rates plus property taxes plus what next? We are not too sure the purpose of savings of millions in the state coffer is actually for what uses besides scoring political mileage. Not least the “No Money, No Talk” slap-in-the-face to Penangites’ proposals that will benefit the state tourism & socio-economic needs. Surely, Selangor’s massive &… Read more »


There seem to be a lot of confusion on debate about public transport in Penang – on both sides of the fence. One side seems to think or charge that federalization of public transport is not an excuse while the other side seem don’t get it what is expected.. Truth is federalization of all public transport is really a huge road block (pardon the pun!). There are only that many mode of transport especially in public mode. Without buses, the choices shrinks extremely. No need to ask about rails and trams if cooperating on buses is not even possible with… Read more »


The tram service to Penang Hill is run solely by the state govt. I cannot understand why the state govt cannot run a tram service in George Town when it can do so on a hill? To those who say that federal approval is required to run a tram service can I ask you people to explain how the state govt runs the tram up Pg Hill? Is it doing so illegally? I am not a lawyer so I am not sure, maybe our laws differentiate trams on a slope of a hill and trams in town such that the… Read more »


ALL public transport in Malaysia is now licensed and regulated federally by SPAD and Ministry of Transport. Penang Hill tram was licensed in the early part of the last century. The current service STILL HAD TO PASS INSPECTION by federal authorities in 2010.


So if the Penang Hill tram which is RUN BY THE STATE GOVT can PASS INSPECTION by federal authorities in 2010, why can’t a tram which runs in George Town also meet the same requirements and pass the inspection? Is it because the state is only allowed to run trams on the hill and not on flat land?


The Federal Constitution gives the Federal Government jurisdiction over all railways except the Penang Hill Railway and the Sabah Railway.


Public transport is under the jurisdiction of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. They are holding the state government and the people of Penang to ransom. NAJIB and gang are showing their middle fingers at you for voting in the opposition state government. They will squeeze Penang and hoping that the Penang people will rise to hate and blame the state government for mismanagement and return the support UMNO. No development fund for Penang even in the recent Federal budget . Penang is one of the highest contributor of revenue to the federal government and in return got peanuts.The only way is to… Read more »

Very Angry

Ok, suddenly it is BN fault again. And suddenly we see innocent angels at Komtar again. What a magical drama orchestrated by its followers. You have been warned again and again. Please stop the rich and famous colonization. Penang belongs to us, the locals. Even the beggars have the right to be part of Penang.


And if LGE do not get any reply from Hisham, then forget the next time when the pornstar club join as Minister of Transport again. Anyway they don`t have to give you a reply just like the Penang Jardip who never give one to (me) anyway. So there is no reason for the LGE and Jardip to complain about no reply from the transport and housing ministry.


I second that. Sad to say this state govt has does not bother replying to the ordinary folk regarding their concerns. We are all kucing kurap to them. I am glad Jeff Ooi told off these people in no uncertain terms. If you are the President of the MPPP you should be most ashamed. An elected representative of the people has requested for your presence to solve certain issue involving the local council. He is an MP and it is not even his duty to help you handle local market issues and yet he comes down to help while the… Read more »


I keep hearing people complain of traffic during school hollidays. Anyone can proof in pictures.


I can send my handphone photos BUT not sure Anil can publidh them ?


Anil, submit photo pg not usable.


ṭhīka, Anil.
Cheers Little India’s Curry Kambing!!!


if u ain’t penang islander, why not visit us to have a look yourself. now many decent and not expensive lodging around heritage penang.
can have Char Hor Fun (very fun with liao ingredient before less n less when tenage tariff hike next year) and Fried Kway Teow (try Tiger Fried Kway Teow at Bishop St).
Or if you like bollywood style dining, plenty at King Street.
But don’t drive there bcoz traffic jam common sight and parking at heritage area a big headache.


Penang’s Little India is always traffic jammed, besides Shashi Kapoor & Aishwarya Rai-Rai look-alikes jay walking with cobra head+body-shakes. Thaipusam is the only day that can match its India atmosphere of crowd, body-shakes, curry smell & occasional Haathi Mere Saathi 🙂 🙂 🙂 ! I still can salivate that Curry Kambing Rice served from an upstairs rope pulley (old world charm manual lift) behind an Indian sundry shop, a perfect camouflage from the Tham Chiak Kuis from KL, Ipoh & SingLand. This is how much I love about & irresistible to body-shake (auto-mode) when walking the ambience music-blaring streets of… Read more »

don anamalai

Penangites will be forced to abandon their cars and take up public buses if electronic road pricing is implemented in Penang island.


Not just school holidays. It’s jammed every single day.

najib manaukau

This is another proof of the kind of promises the Umno morons can promise you before and during an election ! Like when the one Najib made before the GE that he will build one million affordable houses if Umno/BN remains in Putrajaya. Obviously he is now beginning to realise the difficulty and also the problems to build one million affordable houses. He is now wondering what kind of excuses he is going to come up with or shall i say one of his typical empty promise he made. I have lost count of how many of his empty promises… Read more »


bn only want to protect proton, got no interest in public transport.

Stylo Logan

BN will want rakyat to buy more cars, especially Proton to keep it alive. So why would Putrajaya want to promote public transportation? Enough said!


On the same level playing field, that is without favouritism, Proton would be long gone bankrupt. Who really want to buy such sub-standard cars? Mahathir has always been a failure throughout his life. Which of his pet projects ended up a success? Bakun Dam? Perwaja? Putrajaya? The infamous crooked bridge of the Singapore causeway? Langkawi Project? Hicom, Maminco and a lot more. This sinful man has wasted untold billions to shore up his image, but disasters are all over the corners. The only thing he did well is swelling the egos of many … foolish kampong folks believing that the… Read more »


Tun M stepped down as advisor of PETRONAS to focus more as Proton advisor to turn around Proton’s flagging fortune in his twilight years?


Penang high density is for the developers to make more money. Having another 300 Rapid buses won`t solve the road congestion but instead make it worse as we have extra 300 big vehicles on the road and many are not taking buses anymore. Instead they will drive their car alone and many are using motor bike as it is more convenient than using the buses. Bus stop are being simply put up here and there and quite a distant from where you are staying making it very incovenient to walk over. Moreover the bus schedule are not as what it… Read more »

eng hock

walk 100-200m to a nearby bus stop may be streesful to some, but once you get used to it it helps blood circulation of your leg, burn unwanted calories to improve health.
The trouble is that most people not used to that and expect bus stop right in front of their houses like a private car at doorstep !

eng hock

Now it’s year end school holidays and i start to have the “choking” traffic feeling with many visiting folks. Good for local businesses (eg chendol sellers) BUT detrimental to environment (eg pollution from carbon emissions now less being absorbed to turn into oxygen with more botak hills). We hope Transport Minister (still waiting MCA to come on board to make fund allocation announcement decided by UMNO???) or publicly known open secret of more powerful SPAD at Home Ministry realize Penang taxpayers deserve more promising public transport amenities besides RapidPenang (improve but still inadequate) ? We hope Penang Consumers’ Association of… Read more »