by PRIYA VASU / pic by TMR FILE
THE Penang state government will be seeking other financial options to implement the proposed RM9.5 billion light rail transit (LRT) project from Komtar to Bayan Lepas despite its application for loan and guarantee of RM2 billion was rejected by the Finance Ministry recently.
Penang Chief Minister (CM) Chow Kon Yeow, in a statement yesterday, noted that the LRT project is crucial for the sustained development of Penang’s economy and the state government will not back down from executing the project.
“The state government will continue to implement the LRT project as we have several other financial options to fund projects under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP),” he said in a statement yesterday.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz last Friday said Putrajaya decided not to grant the Penang government’s loan application to fund the LRT transportation project due to money being channelled to initiatives to restore the economy following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chow added that the state will continue to work closely with the federal government to prioritise funding for projects in the state, and receive the treatment Penang deserves given its role in attracting foreign direct investments into the country’s manufacturing sector that has created job opportunities for people of Penang and the north of Peninsular Malaysia.
The CM further said he also shared and presented the same matter to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed in a discussion on allocations for the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) for Penang last Thursday in the federal capital.
The same statement was also presented to Tengku Zafrul during the Budget 2021 Consultation Dialogue: Penang, organised by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority on Aug 8, 2020, and the Engagement Session for 12MP Preparation with Senior Minister cum Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali on Aug 2, 2019, in Penang, Chow further noted that former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had assured Putrajaya will provide a sovereign guarantee for bonds issued through the state’s special-purpose vehicle to raise money for the LRT project under the RM46 billion PTMP.
The LRT project covers 29.9km rail route with 27 stations from Komtar to Penang International Airport and other areas involving reclaim islands south of Penang at an estimated cost of RM8 billion.