Countering the spin over exorbitant RM46bn SRS transport shopping spree

The RM46bn SRS rojak

Roger Teoh, a PhD postgraduate student at the Centre for Transport Studies, Imperial College London, has written an excellent critique of SRS Consortium’s mega project.

It has sent proponents of the backward plan scrambling on the defensive to come up with unconvincing rebuttals. One of them has even come up with a misleading online petition in a desperate attempt to rally public support for the SRS shopping list.

First some clarification of the misleading terminology. The 2016 RM46bn SRS Consortium shopping list is NOT the Penang transport masterplan. The masterplan is actually the 2013 Halcrow masterplan, which projects the infrastructure cost at RM27bn (and that includes the RM6bn tunnel and three highways, which the state government wanted Halcrow to put in).

Penang NGOs are not against the Penang transport masterplan. In fact, it was the NGOs that asked the state to çome up with a transport masterplan in the first place. And the state then engaged Halcrow to come up with one. What the NGOs are against is the inflated RM46bn shopping list that SRS later came up with.

The 2016 developer-driven SRS shopping list departs radically from Halcrow’s Penang transport masterplan. The bus rapid transit and modern trams component for the entire state is just RM8bn under the Halcrow masterplan – the same cost as one single LRT line under SRS’ shopping fantasy. Or the same cost as one single highway under the SRS list.

Yes, SRS Consortium comprises two Penang-based developers each with a 20% stake on top of Gamuda’s 60% stake. Why are developers even in the consortium, which was selected as project delivery partner, in the first place? What do these developers know about transport planning?

It is true that a few NGOs are represented in the Penang Transport Council, which has not met for ages. In the council, these few NGO reps (including me) raised numerous serious objections such as conflict of interest. But for the most part, our views were ignored. Most of the major top-down decisions had already been made elsewhere and the Penang Transport Council was presented with a fait accompli.

Roger points to the over 300,000 people to be squeezed into 4,500 acres of reclaimed land (off the southern coast of Penang Island), which would make it extremely high density, .

To me, the key question is where are these 300,000 people coming from given that the Penang population is growing only marginally and only 20% of the homes on these three islands will supposedly be ‘affordable’ (affordable to whom?). Who are the wealthy individuals who are going to buy the remaining 80% of these homes?

Make sure you read Roger’s piece here.

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
Ho Wan Lai

We hope Penang Forum can also champion mind (besides questioning physical) development by supporting more cyber libraries throughout Penang.
Sim and Saifuddin of Bayan Bari now potential cabinet minister, and we are watching if you honour the pledge of replacing a library for BB community.

Heng GS

Malaysia mega transport and reclaimation projects are not talking points in global media. See video above that should make Malaysia very visible to the world on perceived corruption and murder linking past leader.


I support the petition.
We need LRT fast, too much traffic jam and will get worst since more peopke are buying GST-free cars like nobody business.


Singapore reclaim land to have the best airport in the world at Changi.


More interesting news off topic.: CAP calls for withdrawal of 700MHz spectrum awards.

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) has called for the immediate withdrawal of the 700MHz spectrum awards to mobile phone operators and for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to disclose the criteria used to allocate the bands and set the fees.
Its president, SM Mohamed Idris, said the association was extremely concerned regarding the potential revenue loss of billions of ringgit in the award of spectrum licences to cellular firms in the past.
More transparent ?


The transmission tower emiting hazardous telecommunication and wifi signals can cause cancer to nearby residents?


And the Penang Forum’s is not spinning? Even here, Penang Forum says they are not against the PTMP but they have been fighting the tunnel and the three highway. So is Penang Forum against the LRT and the reclamation only? Fine, come up with a financing for the PTMP with the tunnel and the three highway.. No money, its just bull..Or is Penang Forum going to go back and argue Halcrow plan without anything real.. Admit Penang Forum really asking the Penang govt is to spent political capital for financing the plan they want. The only way the only Halcrow… Read more »

Ah Hua

From Malaysiakini:The PTMP has its root in the state government’s 2009 initiative to establish the Penang Transport Council, which included 10 NGOs as members. This led to the commissioning of a transport master plan report prepared by an international team comprising of Malaysia’s AJC Planning, UK’s Halcrow and Singapore’s Cruise Centre. With the report as a guide, the state government had called for a “Request for Proposal” (RFP) open tender from August until December 2014 with the purpose to appoint a Project Delivery Partner (PDP). The open tender was further extended to February 2015. The appointed PDP will manage the… Read more »


The dated Halcrow plan should be more expensive now if you consider lower value of Ringgit snd inflation.


Tan Seng Giaw must take note of the newly audited 1MDB account taking into account dealings in the red file, as he must have seen the old and flawed one. After that he must apologise for saying nothing wrong with 1MDB in his PAC capacity previously.


Why ask a question you know why – because the Penang govt job to be decisive. Turn it around, why is it not on the asking for review or criticising to come up with full financing alternative that voters will get votes for Penang Govt?


This needs to be repeated: Development and growth cannot be sustainable. You will see in 2 decades at the most when Gaia (the planet) goes to the next stage of resetting such anomalies.


SRS Consortium comprises two Penang-based developers each with a 20% stake on top of Gamuda’s 60% stake. Why are developers even in the consortium, which was selected as project delivery partner, in the first place? What do these developers know about transport planning?

Fact not fantasy: Most developers know NUTS about sustainable transport planning & management.
All they know to fantasise is the super budget to build road infrastructure at fantasy price tags if asked to give their fantasised PTMP proposal.
It is like asking a car mechanic for an advice on what is the best road building expertise.


Ah pek, managers need not to know everything. Managers can employ tech professions and advert people like you to write good or bad review. Important is how well the project is managed. Every business has a risk factor. To mitigate the risk, jack price up. Look experts like Sydney light rail, hong land MRT and hong land to zuhai bridge are over run by millions or billions not thousands. If halcrow can estimate so accurate, they can be project managers or contractors. Halcrow just engaged a sub contractor to do coatings. Who in Malaysia has experience in trams and know… Read more »


Not sure it makes sense, may be it won’t make sense and probably ridiculous, but instead of them reclaim…

Dinesh Nair

Whoa, if didn’t zoom in you’d think they were creating three islands near the first bridge


More reclamation with man-made islands in Melaka but no Melaka Forum to make noise?


Penang Forum can set up a branch in Melaka, UNESCO heritage site too.

Ah Hua

Don’t know the learned Penang Forum will dispute with the using of Catamarans or Hydrofoil ferrying/servicing Penang Strait ?
Catamarans may replace Penang ferries….


Where can you find money for catamarans?