Cancel proposed mega road projects in Penang

CAP lauds the Penang government’s decision to scrap Penang’s mega road projects in the event that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for these projects finds it not feasible.  However we view that the government should call off the proposed road projects and not waste funds for an EIA to be done as we think that it is going to be a bane for Penang.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was reported stating that the proposed road projects estimated to cost RM8 billion would be scrapped if found to be unsuitable. The proposed projects include an underwater tunnel linking Gurney Drive and Bagan Ajam; three highways – a bypass connecting Gurney Drive to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, a link between Bandar Baru Air Itam to the same expressway and a dual-link road connecting Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang.

Penang is an island with limited supply of land suitable for development. Part of the proposed roads would traverse fragile hill land and will compromise protection of the natural environment.  Furthermore, building new roads and linkages will only attract more vehicles and traffic.  Hence, we need a transport strategy to move people and not vehicles.

Currently private vehicles have an overwhelming dominance.  Cars occupy so much space – as moving traffic, it needs roads to be driven on; as a parked object, it needs space in the cities and homes. Space is also needed for workshops, petrol stations and other infrastructure that is necessary for these private vehicles.

It is a flaw to keep encouraging more private vehicles by building new roads. Public transport which is able to move large numbers of people is more efficient and reduces energy use and pollution. Thus, the government should move aggressively towards ensuring efficient, adequate public transport in the State and at the same time encourage non-motorised movement.

We want to see Penang as a state and an island with an excellent public transport system that will ensure a proper quality of life for all, both residents and visitors.

Press Release, 6 February 2013