If you are dealing with a RM6.3 billion project on a small congested island while having to contend with partisan politics, there are going to be disagreements and disputes between the parties involved along the way.
Thus, it is probably safe to say that caretaker Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his state government have expected some of it.
Whether they expected it to be this loud, clear and sustained, is another matter. Some of the quarters that it is coming from may also have been unexpected.
Furthermore, it is no longer just criticism of the proposed project; increasingly, it has morphed into displeasure at the way that the Penang state government has responded to the criticism.
SM Mohd Idris (right) of the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) for one, has reacted angrily to thinly-veiled suggestions coming out of the state government’s camp.
Personal agendas in mind?
This seems to suggest that those in disagreement were criticising at the behest of BN or with their own personal agendas in mind, rather than in Penang and the people’s best interest.
What this suggestion fails to capture, however, is that some of the loudest and strongest criticism is in fact coming from groups that are usually behind the Guan Eng-led state government.
Nonetheless, they believe that their concerns are legitimate and are determined to share them with whomever is listening.
But just what are some of the key concerns of these NGOs and civil society groups?
This project ran into controversy very early, when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on the same week as the announcement that the state would be launching a detailed study to formulate a Transportation Master Plan (TMP) was made.
Almost immediately, suggestions of jumping the gun were levelled.
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