GEORGE TOWN: The Transport Ministry has granted conditional approval for the proposed Bayan Lepas light rail transit (LRT) scheme.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook, in announcing the matter, said the conditional approval came with 30 conditions which needed to be fulfilled before the project can proceed.
“After careful and thorough consideration, we have approved the application for the Bayan Lepas LRT scheme submitted by the state Economic Planning Division of the Penang state government yesterday.
“However, it is subject to conditions under Section 83 and 84 of the Land Public Transport Agency (APAD) 2010 (Act 715),” he said.
Loke said under Section 82 (2) of Act 715, upon the granting of the conditional approval, the applicant must deposit to the APAD office for public exhibition any documents of the project for a three-month period.
The three-month period begins from the time a notice is put up in local newspapers.
The documents will be put up in public places, including government offices, which will be announced in the notice.
“To fulfil current needs and improve on the transparency of the government’s delivery system, the applicant will also be asked to upload all the documents onto a website for all to see.
“This is to enable to public to give their feedback or oppose the plan,” he added.
Loke said after getting the feedback from the people, another final approval application for the railway scheme has to be submitted to the ministry for final approval under Section 84 (5) of Act 715.
Elaborating on the 30 conditions, Loke said among the approvals needed were the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) for the railway scheme, DEIA approval for the Penang South Reclamation, Social Impact Assessment report, Heritage Impact Assessment report, Traffic Impact Assessment report and others.
“As such, I welcome the participation of the public and feedback from the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as all stakeholders during the public inspection in line with democratic process.
“I am sure that the development of public infrastructure development must be given priority for the long-term towards a more comprehensive transportation system.
“This will ensure the well-being of the people and the state,” he said.
The rail line for the LRT project will cover 29.9 kilometres and 27 stations, running from Komtar to the Penang International Airport and to the three future reclaimed islands in the south of Penang, estimated to cost RM8 billion.
A state-initiated project, the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), to solve the state’s traffic woes, is expected to cost an estimated RM46 billion.
It features an undersea tunnel linking the island to the mainland, highways, LRT and monorail, and extensive bus connectivity on both the island and mainland.
Meanwhile, the Penang government expressed its commitment in fulfilling all the conditions.
Welcoming the ministry’s conditional approval for the rail project, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said they would wait for the official letter from the ministry for the next course of action, including the public exhibition.