Good support for Penang’s Transport Master Plan, reclamation projects

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PETALING JAYA: The majority of stakeholders have backed the Penang government’s RM27 billion Transport Master Plan (PTMP) and the South Reclamation (PSR) projects.

State executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow said more than 220 engagement sessions were held with the stakeholders and these had generated good public support and response to the proposed projects.

They included fishermen and their families, local residents, operators of aquaculture and hatcheries, and fishery and community organisations.

The sessions were held at Teluk Kumbar, Permatang Damar Laut, Sungai Batu, Permatang Tepi Laut and Gertak Sanggul.

“About 60% of the 1,665 people who attended these sessions were receptive to these projects,” Chow told the media in George Town today.

Present were SRS Consortium’s public relations and communications head Pang Hong Yee, who is PTMP’s project delivery partner, and other officials.

Chow said the state government was constantly engaging the 1,000 fishermen and their families affected by the reclamation projects in the Permatang Damar Laut coastal area. This was mainly to address their concerns.

He said BN politicians were not opposed to the projects but were concerned about its implementation, adding that the state government was constantly in talks with NGOs to address their environmental concerns.

Pang said fishermen’s families affected by the reclamation would be offered job opportunities based on their skills and qualifications. They could work as boat and barge operators, work site employees, security personnel and patrol vessel operators.

He said they would be given skills enhancement training in a nearby vocational college to provide relevant courses for employment.

The state government has faced mounting criticisms over both projects. The Transport Master Plan involves linking Penang Island with the mainland with rail transit systems, a tram system and bus routes. The reclamation of land is expected to fund these projects.