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Chow also dismissed claims by non-governmental organisation Penang Forum that the three leading queries featured in the gazette’s questionnaire were framed in such a way as to elicit a positive response. NSTP/RAMDZAN MASIAM

GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said only 380 public objections were received during the first month of the Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT) gazettement.

He said the figure comprised only 2.35 per cent of the 16,140 respondents who provided feedback.

Chow also dismissed claims by non-governmental organisation Penang Forum that the three leading queries featured in the gazette’s questionnaire were framed in such a way as to elicit a positive response.

He said the state government had no part in formulating the questions and that respondents were allowed to answer them in any way they saw fit.

“The respondents didn’t have to say ‘yes’, and after all, it’s not like there was 100 per cent support.

“A total of 15,760 (respondents voiced support for) the project. There were only 380 objections (which) we believe are over a localised issue, and not concerning the project as a whole.

“During a recent meeting with the Land and Public Transport Agency (Spad), the project delivery partner (SRS Consortium) had been asked to answer to every single objection,” Chow said at a press conference here, today.

The Bayan Lepas LRT is part of the state government’s ambitious Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). The RM46 billion PTMP, which also includes highways, will be funded by the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project, which involves the reclamation of 1,800 hectares of land, comprising three man-made islands off the southwestern tip of the island.

NGOs have been vocal in opposing the PSR and PTMP projects.

The gazettement, which will end on Nov 19, is available at Spad offices in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, at Level Three in Komtar and the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) in Bandar Perda.

There is also a mobile booth to cover six other locations during different periods between Aug 19 and Oct 9, such as at the Tesco E-Gate, the Penang International Airport, Sunshine Square, the Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal, Penang Sentral in Butterworth and the Penang Skills Development Centre.

Meanwhile, Chow said the state government is unfazed by a memorandum handed over to Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin by the NGO Penang Tolak Tambak, protesting against the PSR.

“The Penang government has been adopting the CAT principle (Competency, Accountability and Transparency) for 11 years, (which means we are open to complaints). If (the practice) is an embarrassment, then we would have been embarrassed for 11 years.

“(Anyone) can submit a memorandum to anyone. In the past, every Friday was a ‘memorandum surrendering day’,” he said when asked to comment on former Seberang Permai Municipal councillor Joshua Woo’s statement that it was an “embarrassing day for Penang” following the handing over of Penang Tolak Tambak’s memorandum during the 7th Asia Pacific Urban Forum.

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