Penang Integrated Transportation Masterplan is a plan for the public transport covering the state of Penang. At time of writing (July, 2014), full implementation of the plan is expected to cost RM27 billion1.
Public transport in Penang saw its first quantum leap of improvement when the Rapid Penang buses were introduced to the state on 31 July, 2007. Although it was a vast improvement to the dire situation following the discontinuation of bus services by Penang Yellow Bus in 2004, on the whole there was still much room for improvement.
On 13 June, 2014, the Penang Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Yon Yeow indicates that the Penang state government would call for a Request for Proposal (RFP) in August 2014 to bid to be the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) for the transport masterplan strategy. The PDP has to oversee the RM27 billion project which includes highway construction, estimated at RM16 billion, and public transport, at RM9 billion.
To ensure that Penang receives bids from companies with an existing track record, only companies with a minimum annual turnover of RM3 billion, and having been operating for 15 years, are qualified to participate in the RFP for PDP.
The PDP is involved in the calling of tender for the various projects within the transport masterplan, and will have to step in should the successful contractors fail to deliver.
Perhaps the most exciting portion of the project would be the construction of a new highway connecting Bayan Lepas to Tanjung Bungah. This highway will cut through the central hill lands, and will likely require the construction of highway bridges and the boring of tunnels. This highway is expected to connect with another new highway running roughly parallel to the north coastal road between Tanjong Tokong and Teluk Bahang. This in turn will connect to the undersea tunnel planned to run between Bagan Jermal on Penang Island and Bagan Ajam in Butterworth - the RM6.5 billion project was awarded to Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd in return for rights to some 110 acres of reclaimed land off Tanjong Tokong.
Another exciting portion of the Penang transport masterplan is the construction of Penang's first LRT line. The 17.5 kilomter line will connect Komtar with the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas.
The Federal Government-owned public transport operator, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, has indicated its interest to participate in the RFP, given that it is already the operator of the Rapid Penang buses, and welcome the opportunity to run the LRT system in Penang as well. Other companies that have also indicated interest include Gamuda Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, MMJC Corp Bhd, the Scomi Group and WCT Holdings Bhd.
Of these, officials from Gamuda have met with state government officials and appeared to be a strong contender. Whoever wins the RFP will have to get the license from the Federal Government to construct the LRT line. On this matter, the Scomi Group has an advantage, has it already won the mandate to built an LRT line in Penang from the Federal Government. But that was back in 2008, and nothing materialized due to a change in local government thereafter. It is nonetheless welcome back to the table to submit an RFP to the present local government.
The successful PDP will be given rights to reclaim land on a choice of two locations on Penang Island.
The second option is the further reclamation of the coast between the first Penang Bridge and the mouth of Sungai Pinang, known presently as the Middle Bank.
Updates on the Penang Integrated Transportation Master Plan
11 March, 2016: The Star (Seagrass bed 'spared') reports Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng stating that the light rail transit between Penang Island and Penang Mainland will only be completed in 2015, and in the meantime, the Penang Sky Cab will form the alternative connection.
26 July, 2014: The Star reports Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng stating that tender for the Request For Proposal (RFP) to appoint the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) to implement the Penang Integrated Transport Master Plan will open on 15 August, 2014, and close on 16 December, 2014. Those tendering to be the PDP may form consortiums or joint ventures comprising local and foreign firms, on the condition that each partner in the consortium or joint venture must have a paid-up capital or shareholders' fund of not less than RM500 million (and the minimum total turnover of the firms should not be less than RM3 billion). DAP Malaysia (https://dapmalaysia.org/en/statements/2014/07/25/18944/) reports the Chief Minister stating that the Penang Transport Master Plan Strategy covers implementation from 2014 to 2030. It is intended for both Penang Island and Seberang Perai, to ensure that the two halves have (a) a well-defined and sustainable public transport system that covers both land and sea transportation modes.
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