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Gamuda group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling (right) and his deputy Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof answered media questions on the Penang Transport Master Plan, after the company’s shareholders’ meeting held in Shah Alam today. NSTP photo by SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: Gamuda Bhd, which is the controlling shareholder in SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd, will soon sign the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) agreement for the Penang Transport Master Plan, with the state government.

Gamuda group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling said once the new PDP agreement is signed, the design works can start. "The light rail transit (LRT), Island A, the Pan Island Link and reclamation work for South Island will all move.

The proposed Bayan Lepas LRT line will be about 30 km in length with 27 stations running from KOMTAR to the future reclaimed islands in the south.

The line will pass through KOMTAR, Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) and the Penang International Airport as well as several residential and employment hubs in Jelutong, The Light, Gelugor, Batu Uban, SPICE in Bayan Baru, Sg Tiram and Batu Maung.

The LRT Line will also be integrated with the Sungai Nibong Express Bus Terminal at the Sungai Nibong Station.

“We hope, by the middle of 2020, the first package of LRT would be awarded,” Lin told reporters at a media briefing, after the company’s shareholders’ meeting here today. Also present was Gamuda deputy group managing director Mohammed Rashdan Yusof.

SRS Consortium is a 60:20:20 joint venture among Gamuda, Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd and Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd.

When SRS Consortium first signed a PDP agreement with the Penang government in 2015, its role as a PDP is to help the state government implement this economic stimulus growth project that would improve on the island’s transport system.

In recent years, the state government had expanded the project scope of the Penang Transport Master Plan to RM46 billion. In formalising the latest plans, the Penang government will need to sign a new agreement with SRS Consortium.

When asked how soon the Penang government is likely to sign the new PDP agreement with SRS Consortium, Lin replied, “my guess is in the next few weeks.”

Last month, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced the federal government will issue a guarantee to facilitate financing of the Penang Transport Master Plan.

As part of the Penang Transport Master Plan, Chow had reportedly said the Penang South Islands, near Teluk Kumbar, will be a massive plan to reclaim three islands measuring 1,800ha. Ownership of these reclaimed islands will remain with the state government.

Island A, which will house world class industrial parks, will feature digital connectivity (to be 5G ready), energy management (including renewable energy sources) and centralised waste disposal, water treatment, intelligence traffic management and emergency services management.

Penang’s economic growth of 8 per cent the early years of this last decade were largely contributed by the electronics and electrical sector, tourism and services industry. This has slowed considerably to 4.7 per cent.

This is partly due to the lack of new sizeable lands for industrial development in Bayan Lepas area, small ad-hoc developments and congestion problems on the island.

Lin explained in the last 40 years, the Bayan Lepas FIZ (Free Industrial Zone), of which half was built on reclaimed land, has been Penang’s success story.

The existing electronics and electrical ecosystem there connects more than 480 tenants who are in the business of semi-conductor fabrication, components packing, assembly & design testing and development.

Penang South Islands, measuring 4,500 acres, is a catalytic project that will be the development model for Penang 2030’s objective of enhanced quality of life for its communities.

Lin explained the phasing of the Penang South Islands will be carried out sequentially for each of the three planned reclaimed islands. The development of Island A, measuring 2,300 acres, will be carried out across 10 years.

Island A of the Penang South Islands will feature an idyllic setting by the waterfront with focus on public areas that encourages community engagement. This includes over 13km of public beaches, 140-acres of coastal parks, open green spaces, 12-km cycling tracks and other recreational activities.

The design of Island A will also look into the longer-term requirements affected by advancement in technology and climate change trends.

Two months ago, at the tabling of Budget 2020, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced the Cabinet had approved purchase of the four Klang Valley highways — Shah Alam Expressway (Kesas), Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP), Sprint Expressway (Sprint) and Smart Tunnel (Smart) for RM6.2 billion.

When asked on the proposed sale of the tolled concessions which Gamuda has stakes in, Mohammed Rashdan replied “the ball is in the Finance Ministry’s court.”

Gamuda group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling reiterated if the sale of the four tolled highways to the government were to materialise, the company will make a one-off special dividend to shareholders. NSTP photo by SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD

Lin added the government will have to first decide on the planned sale of the PLUS highway.

This is because on one hand, the government wants to sell PLUS to the private sector and on the other, they also want to buy four highways from the private sector.

“So, I think the government has to cross that bridge first,” he said.

Lin reiterated if the sale of the four tolled highways to the government materialises, Gamuda will make a one-off special dividend to shareholders.

“Part of the sale proceeds of the tolled concessions will be dished out as special dividends to shareholders. That’s all we can say, for now. We don’t even have a deal signed with the government,” Lin said.

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