Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 20.4.4015.
The Penang state government wishes to clarify certain misconceptions printed by the by the press about the proposed Sky Cab, Light Rail Transit(LRT) or Mass Rail Transit(MRT). Both the LRT and MRT are not linked to the Sky Cab, a cable car proposal initiated by the state government with the operator of the RM2.5 billion Penang Sentral in Buttterworth. Penang Sentral has been identified as the Northern Corridor Public Transport Hub.
Both the LRT and MRT are key components of the RM27 billion Penang Public Transport Masterplan, a “big-bang” approach to resolve our communication woes and traffic congestion once and for all, involving both road, rail, sea and land. The key element of the Public Transport Masterplan is to “move people, not vehicles”.
The Penang Public Transport Masterplan was born out of frustration with the Federal government for refusing to fulfil on their promise, made three times over the last 8 years, to build a LRT/MRT. When the Federal government repeatedly refused to fulfil their promises, the state government had then written to the Federal government to seek approval to do the LRT/MRT on our own, through self-financing without relying on any federal funding. Unfortunately, there was no response.
A Request for Proposal(RFP) by open tender to select a Project Delivery Partner(PDP) for the Penang Public Transport Masterplan, closed on February 16, 2015. The PDP is responsible for drawing out the framework of the entire network, set out the financial architecture to fund the project, secure the license from the Federal government as it is a form of public transport, and assist in conducting open tenders for the contractors. Presently, the Penang state government is evaluating those who submitted bids to be appointed the PDP.
Under the proposed Public Transport Masterplan, the LRT/MRT would connect the island and the mainland. It is not true that the LRT/MRT line is only on the island. All 3 districts on the mainland has already been identified as part of the network from Bagan Ajam in Seberang Perai Utara(SPU) to Seberang Perai Tengah before ending in Batu Kawan in Seberang Perai Selatan. If successful, the estimated time for full completion would be 2030.
Therefore there is a need to have some medium-term alternatives whilst waiting till 2030, for the long-term Public Transport Masterplan with its LRT/MRT components to be completed. One of the medium-term alternatives is the cable-car Sky Cab, a five-in-one for the Penang Sentral which would have buses, taxis, rail, sea and air(Sky Cab).
The Sky Cab was not a component of the Public Transport Masterplan because Penang Sentral was the landing point identified on the Seberang Perai side, with Gat Lebuh Nordin on the island side. The Sky Cab proposal, could not be initiated until the Penang Sentral project was confirmed. Only when work had begun last year on Penang Sentral, could the planning of the Sky Cab project commence.
Further, the Sky Cab is considered either a “soft” public transport mode or a tourism product because it will take only a maximum of 10 passengers per cable car. In other words, there is no need to apply for regulatory approvals from the Transport Ministry.(it is not a light public transport like the LRT) However there is an urgent need for an alternative form to the ferry service, of “soft” public transport mode. The standard of ferry service has been disappointing, with each journey taking at least half an hour.
The Sky Cab can be an alternative even though it is a soft public transportation mode because each journey would take only 15 minutes. Penang Sentral had estimated completion by 2018. The state government hopes that the Sky Cab can be self-financing. Again it is untrue that there are plans for land reclamation to finance the project. Any land reclamation would be minimal to build the cable-car station or car parks.
LIM GUAN ENG
较早前，州政府透过公开征求企划书的方式寻求槟州公共交通大蓝图的交付伙伴（Project Delivery Partner，PDP），而有关公开征求企划书的活动已于今年2月16日结束。该交付伙伴必须绘出整个联络网的框架、订定计划的金融架构、向联邦政府取得通行证，和以公开招标的方式选择承包商等。目前，槟州政府正进入评估企划书的阶段。