Proposed LRT line near Bayan Lepas mosque not a done deal, says chief minister

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government says the proposed 30km Light Rail Transit (LRT) line from Komtar crossing the compound of a mosque and burial ground in Bayan Lepas is not final as it is still pending further studies.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the proposed route near Masjid Jamek Sg Nibong Besar is still under “early review” and not set in stone.

This follows reports of a protest planned by the mosque after Friday prayers today in the wake of concerns raised by some over the LRT alignment which would cross over a piece of wakaf land where the burial ground is located.

At a press conference in Komtar, Chow said the government would respect the views of the Penang fatwa committee before making any decision on the alignment.

He said the state government would also abide by conditions imposed by federal regulators as all rail schemes fall under the Land Public Transport Agency.

“We urge all parties not to be influenced by unverified claims, given that the Penang government is working hard to build a state which is sustainable, inclusive and puts the people first, in line with our Penang 2030 goal,” he added.

The RM8.4 billion LRT line is part of the larger RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.

The project has seen opposition from civil society groups which say it is too expensive to build and operate such a line. They also say the projected ridership of 42 million passengers a year is unrealistic.

However, project proponents say the LRT line would ease rush hour traffic and improve travel safety on the island.

The proposed Bayan Lepas LRT line will have 27 stations running from Komtar, the state government seat, to the three reclaimed islands planned in the south.

The line is expected to serve the industrial area in Bayan Lepas as well as passengers from the Penang International Airport. It will cross residential townships and employment hubs in Jelutong, Gelugor, Batu Uban, Bayan Baru, Sg Tiram and Batu Maung.

The project has yet to kick off as it relies on a financing model involving the sale of land from the three islands.

The reclamation project itself is awaiting approval from environmental regulators.