On behalf of the State Government and the people of Penang, let me first of all extend a very warm welcome to all of you, especially those who have come from abroad.
I am really happy to note that we have more than 20 firms interested to be involved in the implementaion of the Transport Master Plan from now till 2030 through the PDP concept.
This is a comprehensive master plan that includes and integrates land, sea and rail modes of transport, and it has been adopted by the State Government in March 2013.
Our Transport Master Plan has also been well recieved by the various Federal Government agencies as to be in line with our National Transport Strategy for the same period.
Traffic congestion is a big concern for our Penang residents and visitors. The Transport Master Plan has outlined a time line from now until 2030 to put in place an efficient road network that will support the economic and social objectives of the nation as a whole, as well as for Penang in particular.
Penang has experienced tremendous economic growth especially for the past few years, and will continue to undergo urban revitalisation and expand over onto the mainland through more growth centers and urbanisation.
Penang has attracted many world class industrial firms, and with Bayan Lepas been accorded Cyber City status by MSC Malaysia, we will see the next impectus of growth for our Free Trade Industrial areas in Bayan Lepas on the island as well as Mak Mandin, Perai, Bukit Minyak, Penang Science Park over on the mainland.
Since the World Heritage listing of George Town in 2008, Penang has seen a big increase of visitors and tourists both local and from abroad for the last few years. Tourism has in fact generated tremendous activities not only for travel-related players and hoteliers, but also many local tourism-related activities spreading over onto the mainland as well like home-stay programs which are becoming very popular with foreign toursits especially.
This will translate to ever increasing demand for infrastructural and transportation needs such as new highways, rapid transit public transport on land and also connectivity across the channel and with our neighboring states.
These are the challenges the State Government needs to tackle and overcome from now and the years ahead so as to ensure Penang’s future developments will continue to be sustainable, in terms of competitiveness ar regards cost of doing business and quality of life for the people of Penang for all social groups.
And this means continuous upgrading of our road infrastructural network for the efficient movement of materials and goods for our manufacturing industries, tourism sectors and the ever growing commercial activities so as to maintain Penang’s economic cutting edge.
And together with efforts by Northern Corridor Implmentation Authority, the mainland (Seberang Perai) especially will see a lot more investments being poured in, resulting in various socio-economic developments – not just manufacturing industries for foreign exports but also the promotion of local cottage industries, new growth centers resulting in housing schemes and urban centers, tourism projects to benefit the local population, even educational institutions and theme parks like for example the new township coming up in Batu Kawan.
We therefore anticipate Penang will become the center of employment for the Northern region where residents from the neighboring states, namely Perlis, Kedah and Perak, will be travelling daily to Penang to work. These people require efficient transportation network and system with good accessibility and connectivity to be provided.
In short, the next 20 years will be an exciting period for Penang, both on the island as well as over on the mainland. That’s why the State Government is determined to have the Transport Master Plan implemented holistically through the PDP concept.
The successful PDP will not only be responsible for implementation of transportation projects, but will also get to work with the State Government to create, enhance and sustain the built, natural and social environments for the people of Penang.
This RFP underlies the Sate Government’s strong commitment to ensure Penang will always be the place of choice to invest, to do business, to live, to come for holidays, to enjoy our hospitality (hospitals too), our street art, our diverse culture and of course our world famous food!
With that I thank you all again for your interests and your presence here for this morning’s briefing session by Engineer Lim Thean heng.