Quit putting fear into people on mega projects, Chow tells NGOs

Audrey Dermawan

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has told non-govermental organisations (NGOs) to stop putting fear into the people by claiming that the proposed 19.5km Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1) highway project is environmentally destructive.

The PIL 1 highway project is a key component in the state’s ambitious multi billion ringgit Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) project.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said NGOs like the Penang Forum and Penang Heritage Trust had continuously claimed that if the project was given a go ahead with a tunnel at Penang Hill, the whole hill would collapse.

“This is not correct. They should stop putting fear into the people. “We have provided them with explanation on numerous occasions but they simply refuse to accept it,” he said to a question from the floor when unveiling the Penang 2030 action plan, which maps out the state’s development in the next 12 years, here today.

The 19.5km PIL 1 highway will include a 10-km tunnel that cuts through the hills in Bukit Bendera, Paya Terubong and Sungai Ara to alleviate traffic congestion on the island. It will also cut across the Youth Park, which was unavoidable.

The RM7.5 billion highway will then allow traffic to go directly from Gurney Drive to Gottlieb Road, Youth Park, Sungai Keluang and the Second Penang Bridge, cutting travelling time by more than half.

Representatives from both NGOs had earlier raised concerns about the PIL 1 and PTMP, asking the state government to review the project.

Chow said the NGOs should not go around scaring people with false information.

“NO one is out to destroy Penang. We have said that the PTMP only remains a proposal until we get the green light from the Federal Government and other relevant agencies,” he said.

As for PIL 1, Chow explained that was still in the preliminary design stage and still subject to scrutiny by various quarters. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd