Why we need an updated independent review of the PTMP

Bernama pic

I refer to the memo submitted to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow yesterday by NGOs supporting the PTMP, specifically the Bayan Lepas light rail as reported by major dailies. If this is true, why not ask for a specific referendum from the people of Penang in support of or against the PTMP?

I welcome the series of opinions in FMT by Lim Mah Hui and Ahmad Hilmy, which are not only thought provoking but educational. Halcrow is a major global transport consulting firm with worldwide experience. Alas, Halcrow has been acquired by Aecom, an even larger global US firm. But the point is, Halcrow’s work, whether conceptual or an initial consulting framework, lays the ground work. As correctly pointed out by the writers, this has been substantially changed by the current plan.

Do we know what the LRT pricing is yet? Would it serve the general working class public? The state has made many statements about transport, even taking over the loss-making ferry service. But is it planning to do it now? After all, Prasarana is under the finance ministry. Talk is cheap – real expertise has not been found in Parliament and until today, no GLC position has been advertised or opened up. We still have a culture of cliques and “friends of friends”. How is this any different from the previous government?

There is no point boasting about degrees if real work experience and success in the private sector (or government) is not gained.

I ask that we be very careful about starting with the PTMP. Concepts like the Bus Rapid Transit system have been used in modern cities where commuters have actually benefited so much more in terms of cost and end-to-end timing compared to big boys’ toys like MRTs and LRTs.

Come on Penang, let’s support the call for an updated independent review. And please, this time, consult experienced global transportation companies without local or regional partners.

Urban Regeneration Architect is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.