Penang’s mega projects in jeopardy

It’s starting to look bleak for the implementations of two of Penang’s mega projects, which look to improve the state’s infrastructure and transportation system.

This is what the Malaysian Insider had to say:

Federal Government threatens to scrap Penang Monorail project

PENANG, April 26 ─ All pretence was dropped today when the federal government signalled that it would scrap the monorail project and other infrastructure projects in Penang if the state government does not play ball. Also in the frame to be cancelled is the expansion of the Penang airport, the Insider has learnt.

Delivering the government’s hardline message was Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop. This approach could spook foreign investors who have adopted a wait-and-see attitude after Election 2008 put the Barisan Nasional back into control but placed five states in the hands of Pakatan Rakyat.

Investors wondered whether there would be mature cooperation between the Federal government and the five states or whether political posturing would be the order of the day.

Speaking to reporters in Penang, Nor Mohamed noted that the federal government had not received any approvals from the state government on the monorail project. “If the state government has other plans with regard to the monorail, we are not doing it. The project is scrapped.”

Other mega projects under the 9MP would also be shelved if the state government disagreed with them or if there was lack of understanding, he said. Others projects include the Second Penang Bridge, the Penang Outer Ring Road and the expansion of the airport.

On his part, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has accused the federal government of dragging its feet and not moving fast enough in implementing several infrastructure projects in the state. But he has gone on record to say that he believes that a subway is a better option than a monorail.

Barisan Nasional politicians say that Lim and his team are still more interested in scoring political points with the public, pointing to his statements about bringing independent auditors to go through the books of state agencies and his ultimatum to former Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Rashid Abdullah over land issues.

Full article here.

*****

Punishing Penangites for not voting them back to office?

I don’t see what’s the problem here. So what if Lim Guan Eng has said that he thinks a subway is better than a monorail? Aren’t we all civilised people here? Or maybe I should say, civilised ADULTS? Can’t we all just sit and talk through this properly?

The man has said nothing but his own opinion of what he thinks would work better in the state that he’s governing. You’d be more than worried if this man had no opinions of his own. I’m sure he has reasons to why he has said what he did.

Don’t go saying that if the state government doesn’t want to do things YOUR way, then nothing will get done. It’s CHILD’S PLAY! You think building a monorail is like building sand castles? Just because you have different views and opinions, you SCRAP the project?

Not only is this going to make the Penangites even MORE angry at the Barisan Nasional reps, it’s going to make foreign investors cry “mayday”. Are they trying to scare these investors out of these states, and into the other states that BN rule? If BN can’t play fair, how can they expect the investors to continue having faith doing business and investment in the country?

***

On another note, let’s look at a report by the Star Online on this same issue:

After bridge delay, PORR and monorail projects in doubt for Penang

PENANG: Four days after being told of delays in the second Penang bridge project, the state could face further setbacks – the monorail and Penang Outer Ring Road projects may not take off.

Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said the mega projects have yet to be approved by the Federal Government and have not reached the “approval stage”.

“There are many stages and procedures to follow before the projects can be approved, including land acquisition issues and tenders.

“I cannot give a commitment on the two projects as they have yet to reach the level where approval is being considered,” he said.

On a monorail proposal by the Melewar Industrial Group (MIG) to the state government recently, Nor Mohamed said it had nothing to do with the Federal Government.

The report quoted sources as saying the state may carry out a monorail project on its own to speed things up and not wait for the Federal Government to do it.

However, that could run into problems as licensing and privatisation of all rail-based transport come under the Federal Government.

Full article here.

*****

Another clear example of how different sources paint totally different pictures of the same issue. Is the Malaysian Insider being exceptionally critical on the BN government, or is the Star just trying to tone things down?



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