Thursday, September 07, 2017

MRT in Penang a dream?

FMT - DAP rep proposes MRT for Penang (extracts):

A DAP state assemblyman has proposed that the Penang government build a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line instead of the North Coastal Paired Road from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang.

Teh Yee Cheu,
** who is the assemblyman for Tanjung Bungah, said that apart from affecting thousands of residents living in the Tanjung Bungah area, the road was still not expected to overcome traffic congestion there.

** IMHO doesn't sound like a typical Penangite's name

“I propose building the MRT. It is more environment-friendly, with the underground tunnel … like in Kuala Lumpur. The MRT will facilitate travel,” he told reporters at his service centre in Tanjung Bungah here.

The state government is proposing the construction of three major expressways under the Penang Transport Master Plan, from Teluk Bahang to Tanjung Bungah (10.6km); Air Itam to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (5.7km); and Persiaran Gurney to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (4.2km).

Teh said the state government should provide the people with a clearer picture of the three expressway projects to be implemented by Zenith Consortium Sdn Bhd.

A MRT is definitely better than more roads. For a start it removes in large part the need for car transportation within the Island. In Penang the number of cars have gone damn crazy.

But then, in every town and everywhere in Peninsula Malaysia there is a crying need for good efficient public transportation, not more bloody Protons to fulfil someone's obsessive 'Look East' fantasy of being a Japanese technological clone (wakakaka).

Japan best, China no good 

And as Teh Yee Cheu said, a MRT will naturally protect the (green) environment more, for a start by putting ugly unsightly development disfigurements 'buried' deeply, so to speak.

However, there are a couple of 'ifs' and 'buts'.

Firstly, a MRT network requires lots of money. I doubt the Pakatan government in Penang currently has that, which has been why it borrows money from China.

Secondly, if Teh is, as I've read the above FMT news article, proposing a MRT for only his constituency of Tanjung Bungah, to wit, to link Batu Ferringhi to Tanjung Bungah, that's not a viable proposition as the population there is unlikely to be able to sustain the MRT operating cost, let alone justify its development.

A far more viable link for a MRT would be from Ayer Itam (my village, wakakaka) to Georgetown. My suggestion is not parochially based, wakakaka again, but I'm sure even Teh will agree with me that the population numbers along and surrounding this route is quite adequate to justify a MRT link.

But I would go along with Teh if he has in mind a comprehensive Island network and not just the Batu Ferringhi to Tanjung Bungah route, but links such as:

(i) Georgetown to Ayer Itam,
(ii) Georgetown to Bayan Lepas,
(iii) Georgetown to Batu Ferringhi,
(iv) Ayer Itam to Bayan Lepas,
(v) etc.

And let us not forget the mainland, namely, Perai-Butterworth to Bukit Mertajam, Simpang Empat and north to Kepala Batas, etc.

But there are two impediments, namely, as already mentioned, (a) the quite considerable financing for such a MRT network, and (b) time to implement the rather complex 'underground'.

Regarding 'time', most state governments (we only have 4 thus far, namely, Perikatan or Aliance, Gerakan, BN or Alliance MK II and Pakatan) want public development projects done chop-chop in order to show their constituencies things have been done to improve the state under their administration.

I believe Lim Guan Eng's government or Lim himself has been in such a hurry as demonstrative of his 'Competency' boast. I've heard that Guan Eng, once he made up his mind about a project, would be dead set on achieving it. It's a characteristic that's both his strength and weakness.

But it says that Guan Eng may not be too receptive to Teh's proposal which will require time to achieve.

Teh, much as he has been quite a maverick in a party sense wakakaka, seems to be a dedicated and sincere ADUN. His winning majority in the Tanjung Bungah state constituency, at 66% compared to BN's 33%, is certainly impressive. Much as he has been a maverick a la Zaid Ibrahim wakakaka, he may be difficult for Lim Guan Eng to remove without some adverse fallout from his constituency.

But alas, with the DAP being a strict Spartan-like party, Teh might be made to feel not very comfy and left out on a limb.


  1. Teh might have borrow a note or two from Rafizi.Maybe he wants to be a Rafzi clone?Or he wants to behave like a maverick to get on the news.Five minutes of fame?

  2. A comprehensive transport plan requires all of various elements - High Density MRT system, Feeder Buses, Point to Point Bus routes, Public Hire cars, , and Yes, Private Cars.

    In low-density population areas (which is much of Malaysia in terms of area) Private Cars make a lot of economic sense.

    There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the original drive to build a national car industry. The car manufacturing industry was also the base of South Korea's industrialisation.
    And, yes, Japanese work ethics and near fanatical attention to quality are to be admired, China's not so...

    Mahathir didn't just push Protons. The Putra LRT, the STAR LRT still form the core of KL's rail transport system, were planned and completed during Mahathir's time. The original financing arrangements were unsupportable, which I have written before, but that does not negate the soundness of the original plan.

    And By the By....Ktemoc was a Mahathir supporter in those days....

    1. wakakaka, I have to say Monsterball is sticking to 2 issues, defending Mahathir and labelling me as a once Mahathir supporter. Good try but please do continue, wakakaka.