LETTER | I was 11 when my parents first drove me to Penang from Sungai Petani for the school holidays and I still have a photo of me standing with my family at the First Penang Bridge midspan and there were hardly any cars around on the bridge.
Fast forward to 2020 and now one can hardly stop their car even for an emergency by the roadside of the bridge for fear of causing traffic congestion on the bridge.
If it wasn’t for the farsighted leaders back then, we wouldn’t have the Penang bridges today nor the growth that we are proud of in Penang which is also the northern region conurbation of Malaysia.
We love Penang for everything it has offered and has to offer in the future except for two annoying things - traffic congestion and the unreasonable need to oppose everything being planned for the future of Penang's growth by a small group of people.
To be honest, I was also initially carried away and was among those who opposed the rejuvenation initiative of the Spice project and Sia Boey Urban Park.
Thanks to the farsighted leaders that we have now, the project has been completed successfully and I am one of those frequent visitors to these beautiful places of Penang.
Similar to these two cases, the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) has been heavily criticised by a small group of people and the interesting fact about this is that both sides want to resolve traffic congestion but with totally different approaches.
The government is working on a practical solution to address traffic congestion in Penang whereas the other group is consistently proposing a non-practical approach to addressing traffic congestion in Penang with an argument of population projection.
I am not a transport planner or a scientist but based on my humble knowledge and historical evidence, a prediction is merely an estimate and population projection does not only rely on childbirth but also on the migration of people to Penang daily, future demand as well as the economic growth of Penang.
If Dr Mahathir Mohamad was very concerned with the population prediction way back then (Penang had only the ferry service and hardly any economic growth) we wouldn’t have had the first Penang Bridge nor the unique Free Trade Zone we have now.
I, for one, took the liberty to view the PTMP documents put up by the government for public display and attended two of their public engagement sessions and realise that the plan may sound gigantic but it is doable with proper planning, monitoring and a creative way of funding.
And to say the least, Penang's approach to resolving its own problems is applaudable as it hardly relies on federal government funding.
Listen to the common people of Penang and talk to the 22,678 respondents out of 23,218 who are in favour of the PTMP LRT - we want the PTMP for the future of Penang and this sincere wish comes from a humble man who is a non-political cybertrooper trying to raise a growing family in this beautiful island state.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.