‘Severe mistake’ to turn Komtar into transport hub, says German urban planner

An artist's impression of a transport hub at Komtar - Image: Kwong Wah

Most passengers do not have Komtar as their destination and to dedicate huge areas of prime land for platforms of stationed, waiting trains is undesirable, asserts Alex Koenig.

German urban planner Alex Koening, who spent many years in Penang, recently looked at the public transport component of SRS Consortium’s proposal for transport infrastructure in Penang and provided the following feedback:

Public transport planning not for longterm

Looking at the projection “horizon”, population and housing development is projected for many decades into the future, but public transport on the island is done only for the three to four major corridor links of today, connecting to the shopping centre of George Town.

To improve or rather to build efficient rail transport along these corridors is is long overdue and is not a longterm plan.

Looking at comparable cities in Taiwan, for instance, or Singapore and KL, one can see that already today, the entire urban area is criss-crossed by MTR/LRT lines, forming a net.

[This would be similar to] for instance allowing a train service from the airport to Butterworth, or from Ayer Itam via USM.

The planning horizon of public transport has to correspond to that of housing, and phases of implementation should be indicated.

Monorail failures

After World War Two, monorails had been proposed and developed in Western Germany to overcome war damage to tram lines. But their system failed. (Likewise in the 1970s, a monorail was proposed from Komtar to Ayer Itam during planning stage by Team 3, however, [the proposal] failed, like in most other places around the world).

Most existing monorails nowadays get dismantled; the latest is Moscow. They are not standardised; therefore each system depends on the wellbeing of its manufacturer.

On the other hand, standardised equipment for MRT/LRT/trams is nowadays readily available at competitive prices.

[Monorails] are fun park equipment and not good for lasting public transport.

Mistake to turn Komtar into transport hub

Looking at the proposed LRT line (from the proposed three islands to Komtar), I see it as a severe mistake to turn Komtar unnecessarily into a “transport (rail) hub”.

Train lines never should terminate in a city centre; [they shoud] always continue through to the “other side”.

Most passengers do not have Komtar as their destination and to dedicate huge areas of prime land for platforms of stationed, waiting trains is undesirable.

As a solution, I would propose, for example, to operate “dual mode” trains which run at a fast speed on the sector South Island-Komtar and continue perhaps “on-street” as a kind of (elevated?) tram service, as for instance in the Loire Valley, France or Karlsruhe, Germany.

One even could think of an express service collecting passengers at the southern islands up to the airport and continue from there directly to Komtar with perhaps only USM as one stop in between.

While another slow service would start at the airport and continue until Tanjung Bungah, stopping at all stops.

Likewise, could an LRT/tram service be operating between Ayer Itam and the jetty terminal with an interchange at Sia Boey/Komtar, operating from there as a tram or an on-level LRT [service].

A pre-condition for this system is overhead electricity supply and no third rail. All lines need to have standard or narrow gauge as a common system.

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Komtar has been made a hub for almost everything in Penang when it was first built, long before the present administration. Why no complain then?

Right now there is hardly any open space in George Town or its adjacent area to build a transportation hub, unless you demolish some existing old structures and incur the wrath of those nolstalgic folks.

The problem in Georgetown is the old roads are narrow, and are never designed to handle such high volume of motorized vehicles, jamming the roads like bad cholesterol choking your arteries.


The problem of narrow roads & traffic jams warrant a transport hub @ Sia Boey?
Komtar as a hub (of shopping & state admin) of the 80s is not Komtar of today.
So, what’s exactly your complain??? Or spinning???


Penangites have fond memories of their Komtar pride and would not want it to rot without new refurbishment, then the present administration would be blamed for abandoning the BN/Gerakan legacy/landmark?


The Asian comic museum in Komtar is good.


Get your kids to join the “I love Penang” Colouring Competition, with the purpose of nurturing creativity, colouring skill and overall artistic ability in young children.
Organized by :Asia Comic Cultural Museum
Sponsored by :Penang State Government
Venue Provider:ICT Digital Mall Komtar
Venue :Asia Comic Cultural Museum
Date :25-3-2017(Saturday)
Time :2pm(Contestants to be reported at 1pm)
Registration Fee:RM10(FREE 1 Entrance Ticket to Comic Museum)



Komtar has been rejuvenated with many new attractions.
Also it is going to have the tallest mural on it’s exterior wall.
Wonder why no mention in this blog?


Komtar, a place to view all the Botak hills on the eastern side of the island from north to south!
If you are rich, can go to the top (way, way above 28th Floor) for a clearer panoramic view.


Riding on a new lifestyle

For a person who owns a normal sedan car and travels about 1,000km per month, he or she may spend about RM1,500 a month for car loan repayment, insurance, fuel, maintenance fees, parking and toll charges.

However, if the person opts to travel by ride-sharing services, the transportation expenses could be cut by half to RM750 by just paying for the rides, and eliminating all other car-related expenses.



ah pek asked for lift in bkt relau no want reply.


Remember you could pay as much as RM3 for each litre of Ron95 as BN has removed subsidy. If Brent Oil recovers to USD80 per barrel, your Ringgit will dissipate each time you hit the accelerator.


Malaysians prefer to drive own cars for ego reason, thus unlikely to share. Usually those take car loan people opt for bigger cars since the installment amount is no problem as it could boost their ego.

The Head & The Heart

Do you drive car to go around or preferably ride a bus or hail a taxi (Grab etc) ?
There is no fundamental justice if there roads are overburden with cars choking the innocents !


No answer from Anil meaning guilt admission for driving car contributing to traffic chaos?


like decaprio talk big about global warming but he flew from ny to la in private jet 5 times in 7 days


Taipei, Sydney, Melbourne still has main stn. and focus centre. Pg forum complain to UNESCO and the transport centre at sia boey is now dead. What historical value until now and close to heritage city.


Penang Forum can engage PCM Huan Cheng Guan if present gomen ignores their input.

Today a protest held besides Chowrasta over space allocation for traders affecting those who rent shoplot to do business. It was covered in Astro Awani. Anil may have more info about the frustrations there?

Deng Bo

Alex wants tram, not LRT?