Penang blames Hong Kong protests for delay in installing smart parking sensors

Opalyn Mok
A Penang Smart Parking system marker is seen on Gat Lebuh China, George Town August 20, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 22 — The Penang state government today blamed the unrest in Hong Kong for the stock of smart parking sensors which that was left stranded at the country's airport.

Penang Local Government Committee Chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the sensors were stuck at the Hong Kong airport, with Penang Smart Parking contractor, HeiTech Padu Sdn Bhd, having to make alternative arrangements to have the stock shipped in.

“This is beyond their control so they have arranged to have the stock shipped by sea and it is expected to arrive in Kuala Lumpur on August 29 and Penang on September 6,” he told a press conference this morning.

He said HeiTech was given a firm timeline to comply with following public criticism over the faulty RM115 million Penang Smart Parking (PSP) system after its launch on Sunday.

“They will be installing a total of 997 sensors, 647 on the island and 350 in the mainland, by September 24 under the pilot phase,” he said.

Currently, only 30 sensors have been installed on the island and none on the mainland.

Another main issue in the system was the unavailability of the mobile application for those using the Android platform.

Jagdeep said the application was ready at midnight today and should be fully available for download tomorrow.

”Android users could not download it initially due to technical issues with the Google Playstore but users have been able to download it since midnight, with about 427 downloads already recorded since,” he said.

The PSP, a private finance initiative (PFI), was launched by the Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow on Sunday but it hit a snag immediately after that.

Both local councils, the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP), have issued show cause letters to HeiTech, demanding an explanation for the failure of the PSP system.

Jagdeep said the state government will take stern action if HeiTech fails to resolve the app issue by tomorrow and the sensor issues by September 24.

HeiTech vice executive president Abdul Halim Md Lassim said the company will continue to work on improving the system based on feedback received during the pilot phase.

“We hope users can submit their feedback or any complaints regarding the system so that we can continue to improve it,” he said.

The PSP system makes use of Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, navigation and electronic payment to present a system for users to locate parking lots and pay parking fee through their e-wallets via the PSP mobile app.

As for issues on summonses being issued despite users using the mobile app to pay for parking, Abdul Halim said this issue is currently being resolved.

“Those who don’t have a smartphone can also pay for parking using an e-Kupon which they can purchase from parking coupon agents just like the existing coupon system,” Jagdeep said.

He said the contractor will be given until July 2020 to ensure all 36,000 parking lots in Penang are completely installed with the PSP sensors.

The PSP system is fully funded by HeiTech, which was given a seven-year concession to implement and operate it.

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