Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow today advised NGOs in the state not to scare the people with false information and negativity about the Penang Transport Master Plan.
Chow said he had explained many times that the PTMP project was necessary to address the state’s traffic congestion problems, and that it was vital for the future of Penang.
He said that at present, the PTMP remained only a proposal, and would not take off until given the nod by the federal government and the relevant agencies.
“I hope the NGOs Penang Forum and Penang Heritage Trust will stop putting fear into the people by claiming that the project is environmentally destructive.
“They are saying that if the project were given a go with the tunnel at Penang Hill, the whole hill will collapse. This is incorrect,” he said when answering the question from the floor during the launch of Penang 2030 in George Town today.
The chief minister explained that he was informed that the tunnel would be drilled inch by inch and cement would be put up on every completed inch to ensure safety and to reduce environmental impact.
“I could not understand why the NGOs cannot accept the explanation and keep on harping on the same issue,” he said.
The PTMP is a state-initiated project costing an estimated RM46 billion, and features an undersea tunnel linking the island to the mainland, highways, LRT, monorail as well as extensive bus connectivity on both the island and the mainland.
The proposed Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) highway project will be implemented under the first phase of the PTMP.
However, Chow said the proposed alignment for the PIL 1 highway project was still in the preliminary design stage, and that it was needed to address the worsening traffic congestion in the state.
“The alignment of the highway, which is a subject of scrutiny by various quarters, would be further improved to minimise any impact,” the chief minister said.
Earlier, Penang Forum, a coalition of public-interest civil society groups, called on the state government to review the PTMP projects and scrap the proposed PIL 1 highway project.
Instead, the Penang Forum wanted the state government to improve the current public transportation to reduce the traffic congestion in the state.