Nod for RM10 bil federal funding for PIL 1, LRT likely next year, says CM

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow speaks during a visit to the Bayan Lepas LRT public inspection booth at Komtar today.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang’s request for RM10 billion in federal funding for the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) projects will likely be granted next year, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said.

“Hence, we only need to wait until next year for the funding, which is not long,” he said at a press conference today.

Chow was clarifying a report in Malaysiakini which quoted him as saying the state would need to wait for five years for funding for the two projects.

He said the projects would be placed under the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025), which would be tabled in Parliament in the third quarter of next year.

PIL 1 is expected to cost RM7.5 billion, and the LRT RM8.5 billion.

The state government has asked for RM10 billion so it can scale back on the reclamation of islands to the south of Penang.

The land on the originally proposed three islands was to be sold to finance the two projects and other mega road and public transport projects which are part of the larger RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.

The proposal to scale back the reclamation project came after Chow met PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, who was concerned about the plight of some 800 fishermen who will be affected by the project.

Chow also said a bypass road project that was supposed to begin on Sept 1 would be delayed until October as it needed a sign-off by independent checking engineers.

The 5.7km bypass linking Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway is part of the undersea tunnel and three main roads project undertaken by Consortium Zenith Construction Sdn Bhd.

Chow said the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for the road had been approved by the Department of Environment (DoE) in July.

The EMP is part of the 59 conditions laid down by the DoE in approving the three main roads project. The undersea tunnel is still in its feasibility study stage.

The entire undersea tunnel and roads project will cost RM6.3 billion. The three main roads (formerly three paired roads) are stretches from Air Itam to the LCE Expressway (5.7km), Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang, also known as NCPR (10.53km) and Jalan Pangkor-Gurney Drive junction to LCE Expressway (4.1km).

Earlier, Chow viewed the Bayan Lepas LRT’s initial plans at a public inspection booth at Komtar. The plans outline the proposed LRT track’s alignment.

He said more than 400 people had given their feedback since the booth was opened at Komtar, one of nine locations in Penang. There is also a booth at the Land Public Transport Agency in Kuala Lumpur, where visitors can give their feedback.

The booths are open until Nov 19 during office hours.