SPEECH FOR CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) Townhall Session
20 Sept 2018
Setia SPICE Convention Centre
Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change – YB Yeo Bee Yin
Deputy Chief Minister I – YB Dato’ Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman
Deputy Chief Minister II – YB Prof Dr P. Ramasamy s/o Palanisamy
Penang State Excos
Director-General of the Department of Environment (DOE) – Dato’ Dr Haji Ahmad Kamarulnajuib
Elected Penang State Assemblypersons
Representative from the Project Delivery Partner
Heads of Department in the Penang State Government
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good evening to everyone and thank you for sharing your time with us to attend this townhall session on the proposed Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) Highway project.
I remember more than a month ago, I launched the Penang Vision 2030, outlining a 12-year plan to develop a family-focused, green and smart state. To achieve this, the State Govt is aligning our efforts to implement measures aimed at:
a. Increasing liveability;
b. Upgrading the economy by strengthening the State’s economic engines;
c. Empowering the people; and
d. Investing in a built environment to improve physical and digital connectivity.
The Penang Transport Master Plan (or PTMP) is critical in achieving these outcomes by ensuring sustainable transport planning to alleviate congestion and sustain Penang’s economic growth in the next 5 decades.
Our endeavour for a sustainable transport master plan began in 2011, when the State Govt commissioned the Halcrow Study, in recognising that the rise in traffic volume in the island is impeding growth and the need for a long-term solution. The study was subsequently adopted in 2013, as reference point to guide the implementation strategy.
In 2014, a Request For Proposal (RFP) was called to look into ways to enhance the recommendations outlined in the Halcrow study and to appoint a Project Delivery Partner for the implementation of the improved measures. This was carried out by allowing RFP bidders to work with internationally reputed and qualified consultants to carry out detailed studies to come up with improved solutions for the State. Not only that, post appointment of PDP, a series of engagements with State and Federal agencies were conducted to again review and fine-tune the proposal.
This subsequently formed the Penang Transport Master Plan, where it is substantiated by studies prepared not only to seek the required approvals such as EIA, SIA, TIA, Hydraulics and MTRA, but also those that looked into its feasibility in terms of technical and economic aspects and to ensure it is alignment with the State’s vision, such as:
a. The need for long-term holistic planning and achieve the State’s 60:40 mode share target;
b. Constructability with minimal social disruptions; and
c. Takes into account the future growth of Penang with a funding model.
The Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) Highway is an important component in PTMP, because building public transport alone will not work. To alleviate the current traffic congestion, there is a need to disperse exisitng heavy traffic along Penang Island’s only North-South spine road – the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (also known as LCE). The 2nd spine road will serve to divert regional traffic from high density employment and residential hubs located in Bayan Lepas to Gurney Drive.
The LCE has been overloaded for some time now with Level Of Service F (force flow) because the island’s central hilly terrain forces all exisitng traffic to move eastwards along already congested local roads (like Jalan Tg Tokong, Jalan Paya Terubong, Jalan Tun Dr Awang) to the LCE. If a new 2nd spine road is not provided soon, traffic condition will worsen.
Upon completion of PIL 1, vehicles may access the highway at the 5 strategically located interchanges forming a Ring Traffic Dispersal System on the island. To reduce potential inconvenience to the public, a portion of the highway will be built through the hills using a safe and proven construction method.
When PIL 1 Highway is fully opened to vehicles, not only will congestion on LCE be reduced, but public transport services such as feeder buses will function more efficiently without having to wade through the congestion.
Ladies & gentleman, the objective of today’s townhall is to serve as a platform to gather the public’s views on the proposed PIL 1 project. This is in line with the State Government’s commitment towards transparency, open communication and commitment to listen to and understand the concerns of the rakyat.
In fact, such open discourse forms the basis of the State Government’s public engagement agenda and has been actively carried out to share accurate and verified information to stakeholders on the ground since early 2016. To-date, more than 16,000 members of the public have been engaged on the PTMP.
The State Government will not stop here. Engagements will be continued at selected areas where the proposed PIL 1 alignment traverses. This will be carried out until such a time a significiant number of Penangites are aware of the benefits of PIL 1 and understand the safety measures which will be strictly established and enforced under the EIA mitigation measures and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) during construction.
Since the PIL 1 EIA Report submission to the DOE on 7th May 2018 and public display of the report commenced on 11 July 2018, certain quarters have voiced their concerns. This townhall shall serve as an avenue to respond to these concerns by the panel of consultants and subject experts here today. It is the State Government’s intention to address these issues with effective measures and ensure the rakyat is provided with validated and latest details by qualified professionals in the relevant disciplines with vast experience in its implementation.
It is my fervent hope that the public will take full advantage of the townhall and the opportunity to ask questions, especiall in relation to the environment and the mitigation measures with regards to the PIL 1 highway.
Thank you and I wish you a fruitful evening.