Penang Transport Masterplan Flawed; More Study Required

Penang bridge traffic

Penang Forum. 9 Junary 2016, Source:

Reclamation is a two-edge sword. While it brings the state revenue, there are irreversible environmental and social costs when done excessively, says the Penang Forum steering committee.

The chief minister of Penang recently used the accident on the first Penang bridge to justify his proposed RM27bn transport masterplan. This is disingenuous; it is like arguing that more highways are needed because of traffic jams caused by accidents on the North-South highway.

Penang Forum is not against the idea of a transport masterplan. In fact, it is NGOs that first encouraged the Penang state government to initiate a transport masterplan in 2009. The Halcrow transport masterplan was the result of that initiative. But since then, the masterplan has undergone significant changes.

We express grave concern over several issues regarding the current proposed transport masterplan.

  1. Scale and priority
  2. Financial model
  3. Other issues

The above are only some of the many issues that must be properly and rationally studied. Meantime we should not politicise the issue and appeal to populism for support for the transport masterplan. Neither should masterplan be dictated by pure commercial interest.

Penang Forum steering committee
9 January 2016

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Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

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 and @ericbritton

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