Debate on Penang Transport Master Plan

img-Penang-Transport-NetworkThe state government is surprised by the call of a group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which questioned the size of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

“If you reject and cancel the plan, then what are the alternatives to solve traffic congestions?” asked Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said the PTMP was vital, especially in connecting the mainland and the island.

“We are putting an LRT line across the sea to connect both places but if the plan is rejected, then the people on the mainland would not have it.

“I find that there is a sudden concerted effort to reject the plan, starting with the state’s Opposition and now by the NGOs.

“I hope the public would support the plan,” Lim told reporters after opening a basketball tournament in Taman Bagan, Jalan Bagan 13, Butterworth, on Wednesday night.

It was earlier reported that the NGOs had questioned the size of the project, which they claimed was a massive scheme at tremendous cost estimated at RM40bil.

The 15 signatories of the NGOs include the Penang Forum, Penang Heritage Trust, Aliran, Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Consu-mers Association of Penang, Malaysian Nature Society, Women Centre for Change and Suaram.

They also said the scheme lacked vision and was still car-centric.

When contacted, Dr Lim Mah Hui, who is part of the Penang Forum, said they did not reject the idea of a transport master plan.

“In fact, it was the NGOs which conceived the idea of a transport master plan in 2009.

“We are the originator of the concept of a transport master plan and the need for it.

“However, we do not support the current scheme.

“We support the need to prioritise public transport over the present private car-centric transport system,” he said, adding that the current plan contained many ‘fundamental flaws’.

Dr Lim said ‘modern generation trams’ or light rail vehicles (LRV) were more manoeuvrable, flexible and less costly to build and operate.

“Why do we need four poorly integrated public transport systems,” he asked, referring to the LRT, monorail, tram and bus rapid transit.

“The alternative is just one seamless network or public transport system on the ground,” he said.

* Click here to find out more about Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) *

Source: TheStar.com.my

  1. Macha
    April 29th, 2016 at 13:12 | #1

    LGE should just ignore these NGO naysayers who instead of helping to drive Penang forward, wants to keep Penang in the stone age. Penang needs PTMP!

  2. Tintin
    April 29th, 2016 at 14:52 | #2

    Hello Useless NGOs, please propose Detailed, Realistic and Workable alternative,
    How do you propose to have tram system All Over the Island and Also Mainland At street level??
    How fast can trams travel, to avoid padestrian accidents and also for people to get to work on time??
    Even Singapore which is one of the most car unfriendly place on eath has not managed to phase out cars yet, so you NGOs have some Genius Plan that Singapore has not thought of??
    Lastly, all you NGOs take Rapid Bus regularly ??
    If not then don”t talk Kok about your “Car Free Utopia”, Please.

    BTW I come to the island every 10 days from Telok Air Tawar for my big weekly food shopping for my family packed into my Kelisa, at Air Itam and Mccallum Ghaut markets, I always take the ferry. I am also part of any future transport system, and there is no “One Size Fits All”.

  3. Ranee
    April 29th, 2016 at 15:32 | #3

    Can just skip the proposals from all those NGOs since they are NOT expertise in this field just like you and me.

  4. james
    April 29th, 2016 at 16:51 | #4

    Ai ya, NGO eat full nothing to do what.

  5. cay
    April 29th, 2016 at 17:09 | #5

    NGOs are just doing their work, from their perspectives and views, not necessary a bad thing. Sometimes just too idealistic.

  6. Vc
    April 30th, 2016 at 10:31 | #6

    NGOs want all of us to take tram from Tanjong Tokong to FTZ, are they out of their mind?

  7. kayabun
    April 30th, 2016 at 11:44 | #7

    It’s ok to get criticized. Even Obama gets criticized when he proposes new policies. In the end, the PEOPLE should decide. People should not get defensive when criticized. Egos should be put aside, and logic should prevail.

  8. James
    May 1st, 2016 at 09:24 | #8

    It seems to be those who live in Mainland is more excited on this PTMP project, i wonder that how many of us would really think of this project as a whole for the benefit of people, rather, it is likely to be benefit of your own whether for the sake of convenient or property investment. if you are in this group, in fact. you are not in neutral position. because you are certainly coming from your personal interest instead of solution approach for the benefit of people as a whole. then, please keep your comment or opinion to yourself.

    My 2 cents, no offend. Thanks

  9. Tintin
    May 1st, 2016 at 12:01 | #9

    James :
    It seems to be those who live in Mainland is more excited on this PTMP project, i wonder that how many of us would really think of this project as a whole for the benefit of people, rather, it is likely to be benefit of your own whether for the sake of convenient or property investment. if you are in this group, in fact. you are not in neutral position. because you are certainly coming from your personal interest instead of solution approach for the benefit of people as a whole. then, please keep your comment or opinion to yourself.
    My 2 cents, no offend. Thanks

    Hello, Mr. Troll, I “totally agree” with you, “Mainland People” really have No Place commenting on the “Penang” Transport Master Plan, because we are all aware, it seems like the only people “Worthy” to comment on this project are people who live on the island, Because as island people, ALL are automatically in a “Neutral Position” ,
    SO, Yes, I “Totally Agree” that All Island People have “NO PERSONAL INTEREST” and ALWAYS Find “Solution Approach For the Benefit of People As A Whole”,
    SO, as part of “This Group” of “Mainland People”, So I want to advise all here, This is “Penang ISLAND” Transport Master Plan from now on, All mainland people please be quiet and DO Not Make comment, because as “Mainland People”, we are automatically “Not Neutral”,

    My 0.1 cents, no offend. Thanks.

  10. Tintin
    May 1st, 2016 at 12:11 | #10

    Really pity the island people, totally SO FEW transport projects planned for the island compared to the mainland, really NO INCREASE in property price AT ALL lah like that, SO PITY the poor poor island people.


  11. smith
    May 1st, 2016 at 17:55 | #11

    Well island people, enjoy your daily jam.

  12. James
    May 1st, 2016 at 23:45 | #12

    Hi Mr Troll, don’t be so upset, i didn’t say you or mainland people are not neutral or shall keep quite, you and i don’t represent the whole mainland or island people respectively, please don’t take it for granted, my main point is, i noticed that some comments in this forum are not substance and educating, this forum should not be the place to express your emotion. by right, it should be the place to share and discuss about the idea but not criticize. Please don’t take it personal from the comment.

    That is all, Thank you.

  13. Tintin
    May 2nd, 2016 at 10:08 | #13

    Why don’t you be part of the solution ? If you feel that “some comments in this forum are not substance and educating”, Why don’t you post a comment debating the pros and cons of the master plan ? Or, are you one of those, who just likes to pretend there is no problem at all ?
    Instead, you youself contribute nothing except even MORE “not substance and educating” comments.
    SO, here is one of my own “substance and educating”, and not “emotional” opinion, which as a “Mainland People”, I am so so privileged to share here,
    I personally think that the sea tunnel at Gurney should be made into the Island and Butterworth LRT, Because some quarters are criticising the current plan as too car centric, this can silence those criticisms.
    Yesterday there was a 7 car collision on the 1st Bridge, causing a long jam and misery, I think people would love a super fast Meglev train into the center of the island.
    This train should be in the north of the island, because it is the only place left with no physical connection with the mainland, even though it is argueably the most densely populated, on both the island and mainland sides.

    That is all, Thank you.

  14. kkb
    May 2nd, 2016 at 11:43 | #14


    Right now, I don’t see the rational of building a connection from Butterworth to Gurney (be it road or rail). Gurney Drive as it is now, is not a place where you have thousands and thousands of people from mainland going to work everyday (like Bayan Lepas where all the factories are).

    Gurney/Tanjung area should be planned as a low density area for the affluent while more homes can be allowed to be built in the south & mainland since industrial areas are concentrated there. In that case, the money for sea tunnel can be saved for better use, and you already have 2 bridges down south now, so there’s no need to spend on building cross sea connection anymore. That should make a lot of sense. But of course, from the look of it, the state wants to have BIG BIG projects, and I wonder why?? Hmmmm……;)

  15. Tintin
    May 2nd, 2016 at 18:26 | #15

    I guess you have not seen the Total CHAOS, every single weekday morning and evening, at the 1st bridge and at the queue of cars to board the ferry at the jetty.

    And you should try driving from Butterworth to Komtar and compare the distance between using the 1st bridge and the 2nd bridge, before telling people to use the 2nd bridge regularly.

    For people like you who do not have to use these cross channel links daily, I suggest you stay at a hotel in Butterworth and try your daily commute to your workplace on the island, before making sweeping statements like ” we don’t need this, we don’t need that “.

    And I wonder WHY, all the comments here always like to drag in things like “State Gov” and “Mainland People”, instead of debating the very detailed plan that has been put forward.

    But I suppose we just have to tolerate the endless chaos and waiting and accidents, because of a few apathic and shortsighted people who would like to pretend through the next 10 or 20 years of population growth, that there is no problem, we don’t need any projects.

    Meanwhile, Tanjong Tokong, Air Itam, Greenlane, Jetty and 1st Bridge, let’s just do nothing, and see what the next 10 years will bring, Hmmmm…. I wonder where kkb stays in Penang, has kkb been immune from the traffic CHAOS all over the island ? kkb has a “Special Edition” of Waze, I think ;).

  16. kkb
    May 3rd, 2016 at 11:05 | #16


    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    My take on why “state gov” always gets dragged in is because ultimately it is responsible for town planning and policies that shape penangites behaviour. So state gov plays a very important role in that, maybe less politicking would help free up some time to think more constructively.

    Whereas for “mainland people”, I guess it is just a reference for people who live in mainland, like “penangites” as in people who live in penang, or “mat rempits” as in people who race in their motorbikes on public roads in the middle of the night. These are just terms for easy communication, don’t read too much into that.

    As for the total chaos that you mentioned, building another link would only solve the problem for the short term, before it gets choked up again. Innovation is required for this matter.

  17. Tintin
    May 3rd, 2016 at 19:15 | #17

    “Innovation” ?? HAHAHA, no need to beat around the bush lah :D,

    It is so SO obvious to me and to anyone following this issues closely, that a certain group of people, would prefer that the island remain incredibly inconvienient to commute to, for the distant future, and these people have every intention to make sure this problem is left to Fester untill EPIC proportions in the future.

    How do these people accomplish their agenda ? 5 ways, Denial that there is any problem, Rejecting ALL solutions to the problem, Refusing to debate ANY solution to the problem, Offering a Vague and Half Baked solution, and the Most Popular, just Ignore the Problem.

    If anyone bothers to read between the lines of the comments from kkb and james and even all the NGOs so far, it is crystal clear, 1. Denial, 2. Reject, 3. Refuse, 4. Vague, 5. Ignore.

    I relish any debate about the pros and cons of the various ways to solve the connectivity issue, but what I absolutely will not accept is sweeping the issue under the carpet. The way I see it, these projects are already so difficult with regards to approval and funding, now you have this group of people who want to torpido the process with their 5 way debate stifling method.

    So So sad that All Penang people cannot come together and chart a better mobility future for the ENTIRE state.

    So this kkb says building another link will get choked up again, so it’s much better to Ignore the problem, Right ? Interestingly, How would a super fast rail link get “choked up”, I wonder ? This comment here is a PERFECT example of VAGUE, IGNORE, REFUSE and REJECT.

  18. BL Tan
    May 3rd, 2016 at 22:50 | #18

    NGO do not understand Jalan Raya at all. PMTP must be suited & adapted to our society. So many motorbikes in Penang but still want to propose LRV.
    a) How to implement a shared Jalan Raya with LRV & motorbikes?
    b) Can the LRV drivers understand our motorbike riders hand sign / head turn-aroud sign and do an emergency brake?
    c) How many passenger safety belts can the NGO install in their beloved LRV?

    Berhati-hati di Jalan Raya, Penang type of transport is not the same as Sydney!

  19. kkb
    May 4th, 2016 at 11:11 | #19

    @BL Tan

    I’d have to agree with you that LRV maybe not suitable for penang. Monorail is just nice. It is not that expensive to run monorail after all.

  20. Kta
    May 5th, 2016 at 23:14 | #20

    Wow. Amazing that there are so many ignorant ppl trying to defend the PTMP proposed by LGE and SRS consortium attacking the NGO’s with baseless accusations. Please get yourself educated about the issues at hand first before making baseless accusations.

    The original PTMP by consultants Halcrow, paid for by the Penang govt. , nvr saw fit to propose LRT or monorail because it was more than what was needed for Penang. The consultants hired by the penang govt proposed an integrated BRT and tram system. So all those ‘smart’ ppl attacking the proposal for a island wide tram systems seems to believe they are smarter and more knowledgeable than the consultants hired by the penang govt. to undertake the traffic studies.

    The issues at hand here is NOT ‘is an island wide tram system suitable?’ The consultants already answered that question when they proposed an integrated BRT and tram system. And for the ignorant: the answer is yes, it is suitable.

    The issues here is: ‘How much will it cost to build and operate an LRT + monorail + tram + bus + skycab system? Is it financially sustainable and is it really what penang needs?’

    For me personally, the addition of monorail to the PTMP was a huge negative sign. Sydney already closed down their failed monorail system years ago because it was costly to operate with only really minor benefit to traffic congestion. The only places where monorail is really successful is tokyo disneyland or resorts world sentosa. Why was the monorail proposed by SRS consortium when the original consultant proposed an island tram system?

    Just to share, the original plan envisaged a Georgetown to Airport tram line that was to begin planning in 2015. This would then have been followed by 3 other tram lines around 2020 e.g. air itam to georgetown tram. So for those claiming vague or no details or no alternative proposed, its just because u never bothered educate yourself on what is really happening before commenting.

  21. BL Tan
    May 7th, 2016 at 00:41 | #21

    NGO has been emphasized on Burmah Road landscape rather than road safety yesterday. Today still talking about Sdyney & Kaohsiung city planning. We live in Malaysia, not Australia or Taiwan. Plaese emphasis more about Keselamatan di JalanRaya & Berhati-hati di Jalan Raya when discussing about Malaysia traffic planning. Stay focus….traffic user priority is safety (be safe when leaving home & be safe when coming home).

  22. sotong
    May 7th, 2016 at 07:50 | #22


    In which year was this Halcrow study done?

  23. Calling Player
    May 7th, 2016 at 09:09 | #23

    Penang will hv nuts if continues to wait and see and complain and compare and wait and wish and vent and wait for all stars to line up.

  24. Ranee
    May 7th, 2016 at 10:59 | #24


    I afraid your statement on “The only places where monorail is really successful is tokyo disneyland or resorts world sentosa.”might not be true.
    How about Bangkok LRT (locally call Sky train) where it has daily ridership of >600,000 and the future extension line: 2 under construction, 4 under planning, 1 under preliminary study.
    Not to forget Singapore also has few LRT lines on smaller towns beside their MRT.

  25. holiao
    May 7th, 2016 at 15:22 | #25

    Ai ya, NGOs when cornered will sure bring out Singapore, Sydney to compare one la… many NGOs are formed just to protect their self interest and agenda.. do you think they care about you if there is no benefit to them?

  26. Tintin
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:19 | #26

    Air Itam to Georgetown Tram ?! At road level ?!? Did Halcrow even send someone to Penang? Or did they design using Google Earth? I just imagine them trying to fit a tram on Jln. Dato Keramat or Macalister and laughed out loud.

    BTW I never supported the LRT or Monorail system, because the stations are too close together, and it costs too much to cover the island.

    what really makes sense is a high speed rail link to the island from the mainland, which will reduce the number of cars coming in.

    And why bother with trams? Electric buses with dedicated bus lanes are almost the same .

    Penang island is at once too fragmanted and at the same time too crammed together for a big transport system, as I mentioned before on this site, an idea would be a fleet of electric 3 wheelers, controlled by an App like Uber, this is something that can be implemented even today.

    Kta is just like the rest, not thinking in terms of practicality, Tram or Rail, I think they are both not a perfect fit for the island.

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