Yes to public transportation. No to three new islands in Penang.

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Latest news about Penang South Reclamation project. Earlier article here: 20% of all units built in PSR is under affordable category To those who think the Penang South Reclamation is already a go-ahead, well it’s under public consultation currently. Thus, people can continue to provide their opinions. It does not mean that if there are objections, it will be abandoned yeah. All would have to depend on the benefits it will bring to Penang or perhaps there are other options for Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP)?

Article in thestar.com.my MDS Consultancy Group managing director Dr Rosli Azad Khan is urging the Penang government to set up a proper public transportation system rather than build three new islands under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) proposal. This is needed to ease congestion.

As for the purpose of PTMP, he said, “In particular when I look at it from the planning perspective, I tend to think it (PTMP) is done for different reasons altogether. It is not done on the basis of providing what Penang actually requires.”

Rosli said Penang should stay as it is because the island has many charms and says that it could perhaps copy Singapore’s control over car ownership. Singapore have some positive regulations which Penang could put in place. He said that Penang should not follow Kuala Lumpur’s problematic public transportation system as it can jeopardise the heritage value of the state. Do refer to the long article with more details here: Article in thestar.com.my

What are your thoughts on this issue? Perhaps we let the debate continue for now. However, I think it’s very important to note that the number of cars in Penang alone is already more than the number of cars in Singapore. As at 2009, Penang already have 1.75 million cars. There are just 600,000 cars in Singapore.

Singapore did not allow for more cars than it wanted for a long time already while Penang will have to start stopping people to buy cars and perhaps push them to sell their current cars and use public transport instead. Anyway, it’s a chicken and egg situation. Stop the cars first or finish all the public transportation construction first.

To follow Singapore, then the Penang government will have to use the stick approach. If it’s just persuasion, it will be tough. The only reason for people to stop driving is to make it extremely expensive to drive. Else, everyone will continue to drive to work instead of all the additional hassle to take public transport. I have asked 10 friends if they would take public transport to work if they needed to walk just 400 metres to the nearest stop. All 10 answered negative. Sigh… Back to the planning board. Will keep reporting on this if the state government were to respond to the NGOs.

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Featured Image from Photo by Carolyn Han from FreeImages

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