GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (DAP-Padang Kota) told the Penang assembly today that the reclamation of three islands to finance a RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) was beyond building roads and public transport, but it would also add value to the state’s investment climate.
He said three proposed islands, of 930ha, 566ha and 323ha in size on the south of Penang Island, would significantly boost the state’s economy by beefing up the state’s land bank.
The three islands project is a proposal by the Penang government’s PTMP to finance light rail, highways and other means of transportation since it had trouble getting funds from the federal government.
Chow said it was initially thought if the federal government stepped in to help finance its transportation projects, the three islands would not have to be reclaimed.
He said on hindsight, the three islands were needed so that the existing Penang airport could have its runway expanded, a larger area for industries to grow and to boost the state’s land bank.
Chow said while there were plenty of land left on the mainland, most of it were privately-held land and the state government could not afford to buy them over.
“We have asked many times if the federal government can help with our transport projects. If they can help, great. But in reality, we are short of land.
“In countries like Brazil, Dubai and Qatar, there is so much of land, but they still reclaim land because of the (attractiveness) of its location.
“As for the Penang South Reclamation, it is good value for our industrial zone expansion. It is for Penang’s future development,” he said in response to Lee Khai Loon’s (PKR-Machang Bubok) call to review the reclamation project following environmental concerns.