GEORGE TOWN: Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow hopes that “just enough” of Penang’s Silicon Island will be reclaimed by the end of the year to have it officiated.
Beyond having it officiated, Chow said the state government also wants the 700-acre Green Tech Park to be ready in three years.
The industrial zone will be mostly home to semiconductor firms as part of the 930ha Silicon Island which has been under reclamation work since last Friday at a cost of RM8.5 billion.
The entire island is expected to be ready in eight years’ time.
“Hopefully, by the middle of November, (state executive councillor) Zairil (Khir Johari) and myself can accompany the governor to walk on some land that can be reclaimed in the next few months.
“This is so that we can set foot on the reclaimed piece of land to officially launch it,” Chow said when opening the Penang Master Builders’ Association’s 146th anniversary dinner.
The project has drawn criticism from environmentalists and fisherfolk, who claimed it would cause irreversible damage to the environment and drastically reduce catches.
The state government, however, has asserted that the reclamation site is a shallow, muddy area rather than a rich breeding ground.
Separately, Chow gave updates on one of the state’s key infrastructure projects, including the undersea tunnel project.
The chief minister said the project had been hampered by an alignment issue off the waters of Butterworth, as port operators had planned to expand northward to where the tunnel’s exit portal was slated to be located.
As for the Air Itam-Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass road, it is on track to be completed by 2025, while construction of a separate bypass from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang will kick off after that.
The two bypasses are part of the undersea tunnel and three roads projects worth RM6.3 billion.
Meanwhile, Chow agreed with the Penang Master Builders’ Association’s call for a consortium of contractors to be set up to vie for state and federal projects in order to seize business opportunities.
The association’s president, Goh Teng Whoo, said he was excited by the Penang LRT project and ongoing reclamation, as it would improve local contractors’ business prospects.
“We have a dynamic landscape where construction companies have the chance to engage in a variety of projects, ranging from specialised installations to facility expansions.
“These short-term contracts provide the perfect platform for our industry to showcase its versatility and innovation,” he said.