Fifteen local NGOs have cautioned Penangites not to rush to endorse the state’s mega-billion transport master plan (PTMP), saying more consultation and transparency are needed in the massive deal.
The NGOs, including Aliran and the Penang Heritage Trust, issued a joint statement giving Penangites nine major reasons why “the people of Penang should not be rushed into signing this important agreement”.
They said this while commending and expressing support on the need to prioritise public transport over the present private car-centric transport system.
Critical issues they want the state and its appointed project delivery partner SRS Consortium to address include the tremendous costs involved – currently estimated at RM40 billion.. .
“The most worrying concern is that the PTMP lacks vision, it is touted as a plan for Penang for the next 50 years yet it is trapped in 20th century technology and approach in planning,” the NGOs said.
“It proposes obsolescent solutions to Penang’s transport problems, ignoring the latest developments in mass transit planning around the world.
“It neither anticipates nor plans for future sustainability and is still very car-centric; it will condemn the people of Penang to a system that does not resolve the state’s transport woes and for a very high and unjustifiable cost,” the NGOs added.
The NGOs lamented that priority is given in the PTMP to building more roads and tunnels to cater to private vehicles while the purpose of building public transport is to reduce, not encourage, private vehicle usage.
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The NGOs said that no answers are provided in the PTMP and for all these reasons, Penangites should not be rushed into signing this important agreement.
“More transparency, accountability and genuine engagement with the public are needed,” the NGOs insisted.
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Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton