GEORGE TOWN, Dec 9 — The Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) is important to generate economic activities especially in light of a global recession, said state exco Zairil Khir Johari.
The transport and infrastructure committee chairman said now is the time for the state to push ahead with the RM46 billion mega-infrastructure project.
“We need to invest in infrastructure for the people and create much needed economic activities and job opportunities for the people,” he said in response to calls by civil society groups to review the multibillion project and be more prudent in government spending.
He said the project will spur economic growth for the state and contribute to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).
When asked about the non-governmental organisations’ proposal for the federal government to appoint the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) based in New York to review the PTMP, he said the PTMP was the result of proposals by an international consultant.
“Of course we can’t follow every recommendation by the consultant but each component we introduce under the PTMP will still undergo feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments as required,” he said.
He said the PTMP was introduced 10 years ago so any project to be implemented will still need to undergo feasibility studies to meet current needs.
“Even the water taxies need feasibility studies,” he said, referring to the call for tenders on water taxies.
He said this will ensure that the components of the PTMP being rolled out will meet current needs.
Yesterday, several civil society groups led by Penang Forum and Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to review the PTMP.
They claimed that the “bloated” PTMP was unsustainable and that the state should be using the funds to implement a comprehensive bus service in the state.