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THE Penang Island Municipal Council's approval of a developer's 27-storey commercial building right in the heart of Pulau Tikus is being questioned by a member of parliament here, who warned that the project would worsen traffic woes in the area.
GEORGE TOWN: Nibong Tebal member of parliament Tan Tee Beng said the project, which was approved some time before June last year, would worsen the traffic situation there because the building would be on a 0.37ha site now used as an open-air parking lot for shoppers and people who go to work in the area.
The building will also be very near the Pulau Tikus market where roads like Jalan Moulmein and Jalan Pasar off the busy Jalan Burma are already narrow, measuring 10m wide without including the drains.
Tan claimed that the person behind the project's approval must have given little thought to it before giving the green light.
He said residents nearby and market goers had in recent months raised their concerns and objections against the project to the local authorities but he doubt the people knew exactly what the building plans were like.
According to a copy of the approved layout plan, he said there would be 27 shop lots, 84 commercial suites and 200 parking lots in the building.
The shop lots, he said, measure between 56 sq m by 165 sq m in size while the commercial suites are between 133.5 sq m by 341 sq m with the largest located on the highest floor.
"The largest suite is a penthouse while the largest shop lot is big enough for a business like McDonald's... logically, over 160 parking lots will be for suite occupants with the rest for shop lot occupants.
"How many parking bays will be left for shoppers and visitors? People will still have to park their cars elsewhere like on the roadside, which means the parking and traffic problems in Pulau Tikus will not be solved ... things will get worse," he said.
Tan said he recently spoke to a retired Penang Island Municipal Council officer, who informed him that the previous landowner had tried to build a big hawker centre there some years ago.
The plan was rejected by the previous state government because the location was surrounded by double-storey houses and there were concerns of traffic congestion, he said.
"It seems that the last government was more thoughtful and sensible," he said.
Tan said he was not blaming the private developer but was questioning the MPPP, local government exco Chow Kon Yeow and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng about the project's approval.
"I have some suggestions on how to overcome Pulau Tikus' traffic congestion woes. I am willing to share them with the people if they are interested," he claimed.
It was reported in July that Pulau Tikus residents were against several new high-rise developments there, which included an over 30-floor modern condominium project on Lebuhraya Pykett, a 30-storey building on Jalan Cantonment and the 27-storey commercial project on Jalan Moulmein, citing traffic congestion worries.