GEORGE TOWN: Jul 4, 2008 By TUNKU SHAHARIAH
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had sent an appeal letter asking the Federal Government to reconsider the four mega projects on the island state, including the deferred RM1.5bil Penang Outer Ring Road (PORR) and RM2bil monorail projects.
In the four-page letter handed personally to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Thursday, Lim had also pressed for the implementation of the RM1.1bil Mengkuang Dam expansion project and RM40mil upgrading of the Penang Hill Railway system.
“Lim had expressed the disappointment of Penangites and the state government over the deferment of the four projects under the 9th Malaysia Plan’s mid-term review,” said his press secretary Cheong Yin Fan in a statement on Friday.
He had stated that the projects were “people centric” and its implementations were important to provide the facilities to the locals and tourists.
Lim also said among reasons why the projects should not be deferred was because the monorail project, which was an important public transportation network system, would ease the burden of the rakyat following the hike in petrol prices in the world market and the restructuring of the oil and gas subsidies by the Federal Government.
The PORR project, he said, would ease traffic congestion and indirectly spur economic activities in the state while the expansion of Mengkuang Dam would ensure cleaner water supply for Penangites after 2010.
Lim also said that the Penang Hill railway system should be given priority as it was a key tourism attraction for Penang.
Lim had also expressed that “the upgrading of its funicular train system was important as the existing system was no longer safe and could be dangerous for passengers,”
In his letter, Lim said he was made to understand that the allocation of projects in Penang under the Housing and Local Government Ministry and Tourism Ministry, which involved “millions of ringgit”, was also affected.
On Thursday, Abdullah confirmed he had received the letter from Lim during the first Northern Corridor Economic Region meeting in Kuala Lumpur but added that the PORR and monorail projects were not raised at the meeting.