Railway Assets Corporation, Penang housing board to modernise Kampung Manis

SEBERANG JAYA: The Railway Assets Corporation (RAC) and Penang Housing Board (LPNPP) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) today to jointly develop three plots of RAC land in Kampung Manis.

The development will see Kampung Manis transformed from a squatter to a modern development equipped with numerous facilities, including commercial centres.

It is also one of the promise made during last year's state elections by Pakatan Harapan's Prai candidate, Datuk Seri S. Sundarajoo, who is currently the state Housing Committee chairman.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke, who jointly witnessed the signing ceremony with Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, said the three plots of land, measuring 36.72 acres, encompassed Kampung Manis and a part of undeveloped land.

He said based on the Seberang Prai Local Plan 2030, the three plots of land had been gazetted for industrial and transportation use as well as commercial, which were suitable to be developed.

"With development in the area, it can support the ministry's way forward for 2024 which aims to strengthen connectivity and reach of the public transportation system and logistics.

"Not only that, a new development will bring in new investments and boost the local economy.

"This development will benefit the locals and uplift their socio-economy as well as the state," he said in his speech.

Present were Transport Ministry's secretary-general Datuk Jana Santhiran Muniayan and RAC chief executive officer Datuk Azhar Ahmad.

Speaking at a press conference later, Loke said the development of Kampung Manis would also include the private sector.

"In fact, we have carried out a request for proposal and reviewing the suggestions we received.

"A final decision will be made soon. It is my hope that Kampung Manis will be a modern development within the next few years and a landmark in Butterworth," he added.

About 300 families in Kampung Manis, mainly descendants of workers at a nearby sugar factory, had been squatting on the land for decades.

This was despite multiple attempts to evict them.

Meanwhile, Chow said a comprehensive development was required in Kampung Manis because it was an unplanned residential location, lacking a systematic drainage system that led to flooding problems.

He said, thus, the overall development of both the RAC and LPNPP projects in this area would be able to change the face of the existing settlement to a more orderly and efficient housing development for the well-being of the local community.

"In addition, this project can also drive economic growth with commercial spaces that can generate income and job opportunities besides providing more planned development with smoother traffic routes," he said.

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