PTMP implementation part of Covid-19 recovery efforts: EXCO Zairil

Media Statement (George Town, 17 February 2021):
Implementation of PTMP is part of Covid-19 recovery efforts

Penang Gerakan chairman Oh Tong Keong has urged the Penang State Government to suspend the implementation of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) until the Covid-19 pandemic ends. [1] Rather than continuing work on major infrastructure projects, Oh suggests that the State Government should only focus on fighting Covid-19.

Such a statement reveals a shallow understanding of the nature of the pandemic which is not merely a health crisis but also a socio-economic one. Would he consider surviving the pandemic a success if we allow our society and our economy to collapse?

The fact is that the provision of medical care, social aid and economic upliftment are all equally important. As a responsible State Government, we have to ensure that our economy survives as much as our citizens. Adverse economic repercussions such as unemployment, business closures and market capital deficiency have to be addressed.

For this reason, the State Government has formed the Penang Socio-Economic Recovery Consultative Council (PSERCC) chaired by the Chief Minister. This Council, which is made up of representatives from both government and industry, oversees the efforts towards recovery across various sectors.

Among the key recovery drivers identified by the Council is the implementation of the PTMP projects including the Penang South Reclamation (PSR). Besides the creation of new jobs, these projects will also inject domestic direct investment into the local economy besides catalysing future growth and foreign investment.

As Gerakan has just joined Perikatan Nasional, Oh should perhaps take a leaf from his own colleague Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz who recently stated that the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects is a priority measure to stimulate the economy. [2]

Instead of condemning the Penang State Government’s efforts to safeguard the social and economic well-being of Penangites during and after this pandemic, Oh should urge Putrajaya to reinstate all the major infrastructure projects that they cancelled including the Penang Hill Cable Car and the loan guarantee for the development of the Light Rail Transit project in Penang.

Zairil Khir Johari
Penang State EXCO for Infrastructure and Transport

[1] https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/gerakan-urges-penang-govt-suspend-ptmp-projects-until-covid19-pandemic-ends

[2] https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/02/11/mega-projects-to-put-economy-back-on-the-rails


实施槟州交通大蓝图是疫情期间恢复工作的一部分

槟州基设与交通事务委员会主席再里尔今日针对槟州民政党主席胡栋强要求槟州政府暂停落实槟州交通大蓝图,现阶段专注“抗疫”,并且等到冠病疫情之后才继续这些大型基设计划,发文告指出,胡氏的言论显示他对全球大流行浅薄理解。全球大流行不仅是健康危机,而且还是社会与经济危机。“如果我们让社会和经济崩溃,那么他是否会想要在这个大流行下幸存下来?”

他说,事实上,提供医疗援助、社会援助和促进经济成长是同等重要。身为一个负责任的州政府,就必须确保州内经济和人民皆能在这次的大流行中生存下来。为此,州政府必须解决不利经济的影响,包括失业、企业倒闭和市场资金不足。

“为解决州内受打击的经济,槟州政府成立了以首长曹观友为首的槟社会经济复苏咨询理事会(PSERCC),以通过双方,即州政府和工商界代表,来共同监督各领域为恢复经济所做的努力,而推行槟州交通大蓝图,包括南部填海计划,是恢复州经济的一部分。”

他解释,通过槟州交通大蓝图,除了制造新的就业机会,也能促进未来增长和国内外的直接投资。

他说,既然民政党已刚成为国盟一员,那么胡栋强就必须视盟友,即财政部长拿督斯里东姑扎夫鲁为榜样,财长最近才表示实施大型基设工程,是刺激国内经济的优先措施。

他认为,胡栋强必须说服中央政府恢复之前他们已取消的槟州各大型计划,包括提升旗山缆车计划和轻快铁项目贷款担保,而不是只会谴责槟州政府在大流行期间,维护槟州社会与经济的努力。

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