Thursday, June 26, 2008

BN government vindictive towards Penangites?

OK, late last night Malaysiakini gave us some PORRah* news – looks like it’s PORRah* to two major projects for my dear Island.

* Tamil for f*-off

In its article Penang's Porr and monorail projects shelved, Malaysiakini said that the federal government has chopped these two major projects off from the original 9th Malaysia Plan.

Many Penangites believe that it’s part of the UMNO-led government's punitive action against them for voting in the DAP and allies. Recall, the UMNO Penang branch had immediately after the March election, in sour grape fashion, called on the federal government to do precisely this.

Thus, can you blame Penangites for perceiving the cancellation of these projects as the federal government's act of vindictiveness.

Naturally the government has denied such a motive.

However, kaytee believes the two projects of PORR, a 17-kilometre expressway that stretches from Tanjung Tokong to Gelugor in the island, and the monorail system shouldn’t be lumbered together in the same basket in our considerations.

Let’s consider first the PORR or Penang Outer Ring Road project which has been very unpopular with Penangites. Please read my previous posts:

(1) Koh Tsu Koon should go (2)
(2) Who benefits directly from PORR?

So on two counts, namely, (a) Penangites don’t want PORR in the first place, and (b) it’s hardly a public transport system but meant more for private cars (or commercial limousines) zooming from the airport to the resort hotels in the north coast, why lament its cancellation?

We can’t have double standards, cursing PORR when we were in opposition but cursing the federal government for abandoning it when we are in the State government.

Besides, as was alleged by RPK, the party who would allegedly benefit most from the PORR project is now the one dropping it from the 9th Malaysia Plan, so I would say it’s not a vindictive move, unless it has been a case of slashing one’s nose to spite one’s face.

I am happy to see PORR in its original dodgy contractual arrangements go - at least Penang still gets to keep its limited land assets which would have been lost for nothing in the questionable way they were (nearly) virtually given away by the previous State government.

But the monorail system, on the other hand, is a different kettle of fish, which has been why I stated that we shouldn’t bundle these two projects into the same basket.

The government’s claim of cancelling the project, according to Malaysiakini, has been due to its forced ‘reallocation’ (and not ‘relocation’ as the Malaysiakini reporter had put it) of finite resources to cushion the impact of the unprecedented hike in global oil prices.

This is bullshit because the monorail was proposed two years ago to help overcome worsening traffic jams in Penang's congested roads. In other words, it is supposed to be a public transport system to serve those who may not wish to use their own private vehicles, and more importantly, to encourage people to switch over to the cleaner and (nationally more) more economical public transport system.

As Malaysiakini reported, the postponing has been against the government promise to invest more on public transportation in the wake of increased (and likely further increases in) petrol prices.

The system is now more required than ever, especially when the public can be more easily motivated by their pockets to abandon the unaffordable (and from a fuel consideration, nationally costly and wasteful) luxury of moving around in private motor vehicles.

Thus I can see a case for the alleged vindictiveness by the UMNO-led federal government towards projects in DAP-held Penang.

If anything has to go, it should be the RM2 billion designated for the previously postponed double-tracking project from Ipoh to Rawang. Make do with an already existing single track for a while, and re-allocate the money to the monorail system for Penang. The rakyat needs such a public system real pronto.

Latest - Malaysiakini has just informed us this evening in EPU: Penang monorail, Porr shelved that while AAB in his mid term review of the 9th Malaysia Plan this morning did not specifically mention the shelving of the Penang monorail and PORR projects, he also didn’t mention any allocation set aside for them.

But Malaysiakini said that according to Bernama news agency, the powerful Economic Planning Unit in the PM's Department said that Penang Monorail and PORR have both been PORRrah-ed.

It averred that projects that are not 'people centred' under the original 9th Malaysia Plan will be put on hold or deferred.

So, in the face of the current (and unending) fuel price hike and the government’s own promise for improved public transport infrastructure, the monorail has been deemed as not 'people centred'?

Is it because it's in Penang? Has there been any alternative public system offered to Penangites?

If this is not puerile partisan political vindictiveness, what is?


  1. so much for being a PM for all Malaysians.
    Penang people should stand up. Next election, kick out the remaining BN fellas. Thats the best response to their vindictiveness.
    meantime, Penangnites should consider DAP Ngor's suggestion on tax payment to the Federal Govt.

  2. Meanwhile, the much-vaunted Badawi judicial reforms have been shelved.

    The IPCMC is nowhere in sight.

    Badawi for PM-for-life !

  3. ;-) "PM-for-life" - kk46, don't be melodramatic lah, I know you're building up a case of legitimacy for Anwar's deformasi party defections kekekekeke

  4. it's not 'not people-centered'. it's not umno-people-centered, so it's shelved. unless proven otherwise, we'll continue to believe this is so.

  5. Its fast getting to the point I don't have to do any more persuading on the legitimacy of kataks. People can see and hear what Badawi, UMNO and Barisan are doing and not doing.

    I had lunch just now with my DAP friend, who's a bigwig in DAP Padang Kota. Like Karpal Singh, he is or rather was opposed in principle to Frogs.

    After the news broke about the Penang monorail project being shelved he was asking me, "When is the Sheikh going to bring his friends over ? Cannot-tahan anymore. These B*st*rds are trying to strangle Penang".

    I don't know when, lah, but the Sheikh is working on it....kekekekek...

    Chin Nia Kuai Larn Knia
    Bayan Lepas, Penang.

  6. Perhaps there is a solution, follow the Honorable Dr Lim Chong Eu footstep. PR join up with BN to rule. After Gerakan joint BN, Dr Lim went on to built the Penang Bridge and set up Bayan Lepas Free Trade Zone.

    After all that was a successful proven formula. Penang went on to become very successful and prosperity state for many years. Penang State success begin to decline only after Dr Lim was kicked out by DAP LKS,

    Without the wise decision from Dr Lim then, I think we may be still planting padi in Bayan Lepas...kekekeke.... Obviously the MNC have uplifted our standard of living of penangites.

    YB Lim Guan Eng please consider my proposal.

    Cheers and have a nice day

  7. Maybe the sour grape thing was a knee-jerking response..and UMNO has been known to do things like that..nevertheless, give BN a lil credit in that they remain a POLITICAL party..and if Terengganu is to tell us anything, the BN would want to WIN back Penang, and if so then such "obviously punitive" measures would really be the last thing that they would do. Many have been advocating for trams in Penang..and the green-light on PORR would have a negative impact environmentally in Penang. So maybe with the scrapping of these the monorail and the PORR..other alternatives can now be looked into more seriously?

  8. IMHO, Guang Eng is taking his sweet time cooking BN for the shelves of monorails.

    In fact, there is so many things a state government can do, especially for Penang state. Unlike Kelantan or Trengganu that are low income people, Penang are one of the 4 high income state in the country, base on the brain, not natural resources.

    Penang state government will not get support on alternate public transport system if the federal government continue the monorail project. Unlike dense old London, HK city or Singapore, Penang are only 1/10 of the population density, so efficient bus system will cope.

    In fact, Penang government can implement a carrot and stick traffics system to make people use the public transport.

    In fact, every RM saved from the people from pumping petrol, will eventually went into the state economy through other spending.

  9. Never ever trust BN government; still never learn from march 8th. Vengeful and vindictive. See what has happened? Sabah's SAPP voiced out no confidence against the PM, Yong Teck Lee kena ACA investigation. Before that, semua is ok, no problem. Then, in damage control mode, now wants to check the immigrants. Even that, it is doubtful whether it will be effective. Najib said will send illegals back to their countries, but at the same time, it depends on whether their countries want to take them back. For years and years, couldn't be bothered about Sabahans' problems. PM for all Malaysians? Boleh percaya kah?

  10. Looking at it, actually it is a truly win-win situation. The people of Penang benefit hugely by not having ill conceived PORR and monorail which would cause more problems than benefits. The country saves huge amounts of money from cost overruns and variation orders. Anyway the two projects were dead and not so profitable the moment BN lost Penang and the ability to bulldoze land and route appropriation for the benefit of the sponsors.
    Even the 2nd Penang Bridge is a dubious and extravagant idea. Much cheaper if they add a train or tram line across the existing bridge to do away with the need for so much car and lorry traffic.
    Looking at KL, one can see that monorail and LRT are two dumb old copycat ideas of people stuck in the past. The major disadvantages are the heavy, strong and expensive structures required which severely restrict the areas and routes that can be served. Penang is a very small place. Even Klang Valley is a small place. What is needed is a system to move people and bags which can be extended or changed if needed. The simplest solution is just a covered elevated moving walkway like those in KLIA or moving ramps like those at TESCO which can handle carts. The up-down ramps are more bag and people friendly than moving stairs. Just make light prefab aluminium sections to be put up where needed. Each section can be controlled to switch itself off and on with the use of sensors depending on the presence of passengers to save electricity. Each section should be a loop - the moving walkway does not go underneath but goes round and round in one direction around an area/block. Speed is not really that important. Actually the monorail and LRT are damn slow - the distance between stations are too short for speeding up. Congestion, erratic behaviour, bad timing, waiting time, electricity wastage in periods of low traffic of monorail and LRT are really inherent limitations of such systems which do not exist in moving walkways. For that matter, many of the disadvantages also apply to bus systems which also have human driver, management, wages, discipline, ticketing and pollution problems as well.
    Moving walkway users have to carry a debit chipcard, and automatically get charged for using each section. Inspectors can catch those the system detect as not carrying chipcard, to make them buy debit chipcard.
    Mr T

  11. anon of 11:46 PM, an innovative proposal, thanks

  12. moving walkways as a means of transportation on the road? but for people (and bags) only? what about vehicles? we are also talking about vehicles on the road when we talk about transportation. er... i don't think the idea of moving walkways (if i understand the concept correctly) is feasible. long ago, when i was a child, i had all the time dreamed that the pavement or walkways/sideways (whatever) on the roads are moving walkways so that we don't have to walk at all but i guess it was a silly kiddy idea.

    KT, i share the same idea as you regarding the lumping of PORR and monorail. to me, as i blog, PORR can go porr-aahh! as i don't care for PORR at all but i think the monorail is a good idea.

  13. Lucia & KTemoc
    ELEVATED moving walkways - not at road level. Leave the roads alone to the cars, buses, lorries and hee hee hawkers, cultural activities. Being above the traffic, there are no such things as traffic jams that make a mockery of bus time tables.
    These are prefab modular light aluminium sections which can be assembled quick and cheap, and expanded when money and interest is there. KL monorail and LRT took a long time to build. Terrible piling works and land problems, hell of expensive. Limited routes and areas covered, dependence on limited number of made-to-order motorised carriages, dangerous electrified routes. No need to mention bail out. Difficulties for commuters to reach stations and parking needs. Sardine like jams. No - you won't like it once you have been there and experienced the disadvantages.

    For elevated moving walkways, you can just keep adding blocks of adjoining or independent blocks to serve areas with traffic or move them about as needed. It is impossible to do so with LRT or monorail.
    Looking at it from industrial cargo moving or airport baggage moving angle, it can either continuous moving walkway or small motorised standplates that automatically zip the standees with baggage or shopping holding on to a pole or rail from place to place along the block circuit. There is no need for big fancy expensive touristy carriages and special tilting mechanisms etc. Such kinds of things would not be difficult for local manufacturers to make.
    Mr T