Penang to apply federal funding for LRT project


THE Penang government will apply for federal government funds to finance the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project planned for the state.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (picture) yesterday said financial assistance from the federal government is required for the project as it would cost nearly RM10 billion to proceed.

“So far, all rail projects in Malaysia, particularly in the Klang Valley, have been funded by the federal government. So, we hope this sole LRT project outside the Klang Valley could be financed through a federal government allocation.”

Speaking to reporters after attending the handing-over of Yu Cai Foundation’s grants to the Penang Science Cluster, he hopes the state’s application for this funding would be considered for inclusion in the 12th Malaysia Plan.

“If the allocation is obtained from the federal government (for the Penang LRT project), there won’t be any need to obtain loans (from other parties),” he said when asked whether the state would seek financial aid from other sources.

The Transport Ministry had on July 16 approved the 30km Komtar-Bayan Lepas LRT project, which is part of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) and its Minister Anthony Loke said the approval is subject to 30 specific conditions.

The proposed LRT project covers 27 stations from Komtar, to a reclaimed island that will be developed in the southern part of the state. It will also see the construction of an undersea tunnel and highways, as well as extensive bus connectivity on both the island and mainland.

Chow said the state’s application for federal funding of the project would not mean that it would have to scrap the Penang South Reclamation project, which involved the development of three man-made islands of about 1,800ha in total size.

“As we have explained before, the sea reclamation project is not just for the purpose of financing the cost of the transportation projects (under the PTMP), but the land areas created are vital for Penang’s future development. We hope these facts are understood by the people,” he added.