Before the current plan for an extravagant RM8bn 19.5km six-lane Pan Island Link (PIL) highway, there was the RM1.0bn 17km four-lane Penang Outer Ring Road project, which was eventually scrapped following an outcry from the then opposition party in Penang, the DAP.
Note that in 2002, the DAP raised the issue of the effectiveness of Porr after the “shocking revelation in the Halcrow Report on Urban Transport Study that the nightmare of … Penang traffic congestion is likely to be back to square one in less than five years”.
“If the findings of the Halcrow Report is true, (then Chief Minister) Dr Koh would be irresponsible in pushing the PORR through as this will not be a long-term solution to the traffic congestion on the island.”
“This is why there must be a total review of the PORR to ensure that it serves the interest of Penangites and not the political well-connected company which stands to make RM5 billion from the project.”
Back then, the party lamented that “there are many Penangites who are oblivious of the impact of the PORR on Penang’s future and the quality of life on this beautiful island because of the lack of information”.
PORR, which was partly to be financed by tolls and land reclamation, has since morphed into PIL. But these days the proponents of PIL don’t seem to mind that the RM8bn project only offers a short-term solution to the congestion problem and will affect the “quality of life on this beautiful island”.
And they have so far not heeded calls for an independent review of the project to ensure it “serves the interests of Penangites and not the politically well-connected company which stands to make (billions) from the project”.
Here is a speech from 2002 from the DAP website:
Speech by DAP Penang and MP for Tanjung Chow Kon Yeow on Wednesday, 29 May 2002 at the launching of PORR People’s Awareness Exhibition organised by DAP in Penang
The PORR is turning into a 5-billion political patronage project as its effectiveness in resolving Penang’s traffic problem is still doubtful
Penang Chief Minister is adamant that the Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) must go-ahead, not so much of its effectiveness in resolving Penang’s traffic problem but because it promises a RM5 billion return to the politically connected developer.
The effectiveness of the PORR is now in doubt with the shocking revelation in the Halcrow Report on Urban Transport Study that the nightmare of the one Penang traffic congestion is likely to be back to square one in less than five years.
Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has not come out to refute the findings of the Halcrow Report.
In the findings of the Halcrow Report is true, Dr Koh would be irresponsible in pushing the PORR through as this will not be a long-term solution to the traffic congestion on the island.
This is why there must be a total review of the PORR to ensure that it serves the interest of Penangites and not the political well-connected company which stand to make RM5 billion from the project.
Proponents of the PORR should reconsider their support for the project as the Government has been concealing important fact ( like the Halcrow Report ) from their public scrutiny.
If Penang Chinese Town Hall president Datuk Seri Lim Gait Tong is given the whole fact of the PORR, he would not have made the call to Chinese associations to support the PORR.
Likewise, there are many Penangites who are oblivious of the impact of the PORR on Penang’s future and the quality of life on this beautiful island because of the lack of information.
The PORR exhibition organised by Penang DAP therefore aims to create awareness among the people that the whole population would be affected not just the 76 properties that have to be relocated.
Penangites would be tolled for 30 years by the PORR and properties located next to the road would be affected.
The Penang DAP therefore reiterates our call for a total review of the PORR which must include reviewing the following areas, privatisation of the project, the letter of intent to Peninsular Metro-Works, need for social impact assessment, cultural impact assessment, public inquiry of the new E.I.A. report, financial incentives to concessionaire and technical aspects.
DAP to conduct opinion poll on PORR
The Penang DAP is also launching an opinion poll today to enable more Penang people to participate in the current discourse on PORR.
They are asked to express their opinion on whether they agree toll :
(1) imposition of toll
(2) should it be privatized
(3) should developer granted exclusive right to reclaim 500 acres of land off Gurney Drive
(4) should State government grants six pieces of State land to developer
(5) whether PORR would resolve traffic congestion problem in Penang and
(6) whether they support the project.
Interested Penangites could obtain the opinion poll forms from the Penang DAP HQ at No. 14, Jalan Talipon, 10400 Penang. Tel : 04-2288482, Fax : 04-2288514
Compare the shorter Porr alignment (above) to the longer, wider PIL alignment (below):
So Porr was not acceptable but the PIL is fine?