2030 structure plan gets stamp of approval from Penang government

(Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has endorsed a state development master plan which will govern all development in the state until 2030.

The 2030 Penang Structure Plan (PSP) includes the three artificial islands project, proposed highways and light rail transit lines under the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who announced the plan today, said the PSP would only come into force once the National Physical Planning Council (MPFN) chaired by the prime minister gives approval next month.

He said the state government had taken into account all objections to the PSP.

“In any development, there will be an impact on the environment and social fabric,” he said in a press conference at Komtar.

“What is important is for us to take the necessary mitigation to minimise the impact.”

Giving the example of reclamation projects, he said it is “impossible to say there will be no impact”.

Because of this, he said, the authorities had required the submission of all impact studies – social, heritage and environment – to support and justify the project.

The PSP is in line with federal law requiring all states to come up with a structure plan. It outlines development plans for the state for the next 10 years and determines where homes, among others, can be built.

The plan can be renewed every five years.

The last PSP was gazetted in 2007 and is still in force today. Plans to introduce a PSP for 2020 never took off.

According to a handout, the 2030 PSP had 533 objections, on reclamation issues (133), PTMP (107), agriculture land (93), population projection (39), forest land (27), highland development (21) and others (113).

It said the state government had given the nod to the estimated population projections, which had been disputed by NGOs.

Most of the objections were made by individuals (504), with the rest made by NGOs (16), private companies (six) and statutory bodies (seven).

On a separate matter, Chow said it was too early to discuss a RM1 billion bridging loan to kickstart the reclamation project for the three islands as it has yet to be approved by MPFN.

He was responding to a report which quoted him as saying the project delivery partner (PDP) had been forced to look for a loan as the federal government had not provided one.

The report also quoted SRS Consortium as saying the Penang government would have to come up with RM1 billion, while the PDP comes up with RM1.3 billion to begin reclaiming the three islands.

Chow said the PDP is responsible for obtaining bridging finance after the technical drawings are completed.

“We will try to assist them (to obtain a loan), but it is still premature to talk about this as approval is still pending.”

On May 25, 2017, the Penang government passed a law for the state to obtain loans from banks, allowing the state to borrow money from the Export-Import Bank of China to finance the PTMP.

The state assembly was told that the bank had agreed to lend out an undisclosed sum of money to Penang through an agreement on Dec 16, 2014.