He said the previous federal government had failed to provide adequate funds for several years.
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The Malaysian federal government has announced an injection of additional funds for the construction of the Penang Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, Malaysiakini reported.
The project has faced funding challenges in the past, with insufficient funds allocated by the previous government, according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Speaking at the Malaysia Madani Aidilfitri Open House yesterday, he said, “I will also hold a discussion with the state government in the next one or two weeks to find a suitable approach to bear the high cost of LRT construction.”
The LRT project is one of the main components of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), which aims to alleviate traffic congestion in the state. The plan involves the construction of an LRT line connecting Bayan Lepas and Komtar.
Anwar expressed hope that the project would ease the state’s traffic congestion, saying, “We have LRT, MRT and monorail in the Klang Valley…why can’t we introduce it to the second largest city in our country?”
Last Sunday, Anwar said he had heard the feedback of locals and fishermen on Penang Island’s southern coast, where the reclamation of three islands is to take place.
“To address the issues around the island reclamation, the project will be reviewed so its scope can be reduced,” he said.
The Penang Southern Island (PSI) project will reclaim a total of 1,821 hectares, over an area of 17 square kilometres, off the southern coast of Penang island between Permatang Damar Laut and Gertak Sanggul.
The decision is expected to counteract dissatisfaction over the environmental impact of the massive Penang South Islands reclamation project.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook has also welcomed the government’s announcement, saying that a decision in principle has been made to implement the project.
However, he emphasized the need to discuss the financing model and mechanism in detail. “Whether through funds from development or off budget or the financing method through PPP (Public-Private Partnership), we need further details,” he said.
The federal government’s move to fund the LRT project is expected to be a significant boost to the PTMP’s efforts to improve transportation in Penang.
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