Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 2.3.2014.
Following the opening of the Penang 2nd Bridge or Sultan Abdul Halim Mua’dzam Shah(SAHMS) Bridge, the BN media has gone into overdrive in asking the Penang state government to abandon the proposed 3rd link of an under-seabed tunnel between Gurney Drive on the island and Bagan Ajam on the mainland. Only 2 flimsy objections were given namely that there is no need for a third link in Penang, now that there are 2 bridges reducing traffic congestion and the issue environmental concerns of building an under-seabed tunnel.
Any basic transportation studies will bear out the premise that for an island, the more links the better in terms of reducing traffic bottlenecks and traffic congestion. Further this under-seabed tunnel is financed partly and is a key element of the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) for the Phase 2 of the Tanjung Pinang land reclamation project by the E&O group. This 940 acre land reclamation project was approved, concluded and signed by the previous BN state government. At that time, the same BN media did not object to the land reclamation project.
The state government honoured the previous agreement signed but managed to include additional public interest elements such as working out a traffic dispersal scheme within the system with a RM 6.3 billion project that includes:-
• a 4-lane highway from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang,
• a 4-lane highway Air Hitam to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway,
• a 4-lane highway Gurney Drive to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway; and
• an under sea-bed tunnel connecting Gurney Drive on the island to the mainland in Bagan Ajam.
The whole project was awarded by open competitive tender. This under seabed tunnel would take up to 12 years to complete. By that time, there would be a need for a third link with population growth and if the Penang state government realises its vision of transforming Penang into an international and intelligent city that attract top human talents. After all, 12 years after the first Penang Bridge was open, there was a clear need for a second bridge.
If Hong Kong can have 3 under-seabed tunnels apart from its many bridges, why can’t Penang have just one tunnel? Further, building tunnels are better for the environment than bridges. If there is no problem with the 2 bridges in Penang, clearly there is no problem with a tunnel in Penang. Further, other BN states talking about building tunnels is not an issue but an issue in Penang.
An additional benefit would be to bring development to Seberang Perai Utara(SPU). If Seberang Perai Tengah can be served by the first bridge and Seberang Perai Selatan by the second bridge, why should SPU be left out? SPU comprises of 3 parliamentary seats and 9 state seats of which 2 parliamentary seats ad 6 state seats are controlled by UMNO. By building the tunnel to develop SPU, the Penang state government is demonstrating that every Penangite is treated fairly including UMNO strongholds. Why is the BN media opposed to the Penang PR state government wanting to bring development and treat UMNO supporters fairly in UMNO areas?
Clearly, the 3rd link of the under-seabed tunnel between Gurney Drive and Bagan Ajam would not only serve as a development game-changer and economic catalyst for economic growth for Seberang Perai Utara(SPU) but also reduce traffic congestion in Penang island.
LIM GUAN ENG
—-Mandarin Version —-
整项工程是通过公开招标进行的。这项海底隧通工程将会耗时12年。到时，我们需要第三条通道来应付人口成长，如果槟州政府实现了将槟州转型成为吸引顶尖人才的国际及智能城市。再说，在槟城大桥 开通后12年，当局也意识到需要第二大桥 。