Dear Friends of Penang,
As part of our 2013-2019 Watching Brief on the realities of the sustainable transport/mobility/access planning and policy in Penang Malaysia, it is important that we present fully and fairly the position of local government and their allies in formulating and leading their on-going “Penang Transport Master Plan” (PTMP).
We want to present their best case for their ambitious long term venture. For now we have posted on the Sustainable Penang website, a total of eight documents/references setting out their point of view, including the government’s latest position papers on the on-going Penang Transport Master Plan. You will find them with hot links for easy referencing on the upper right hand column of the site at https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com and also here just below:
The incompetent leading the unwilling to do the unnecessary.
Oops. This harsh charge has been leveled on an increasing number of occasions by people and groups across and beyond Penang who are highly dissatisfied with the competence, appropriateness and huge cost of the on-going “Penang Transport Master Plan” and related infrastructure projects and measures. Is there any validity to this charge, or is it just a case of political quibbling? Let’s take a step back and have a look.
How competent is the PTMP and the team behind it?
A 16 November 2018 Battle of Ideas Google Survey reports more than 21,000 background references expressing different points of view of the competence, the need for further skills upgrading at all levels of the planning process, and specific recommendations of the much-contested, long-pending and greatly behind-schedule Penang Transport Master Plan.
We invite you to have a good look at the results of this search at http://bit.ly/2zbJm9b and make up your own mind on the subject. You will find additional information on the subject in the Working Brief postings here at https://wp.me/p3GVVk-mb
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* Click here — http://bit.ly/2zbQUJ2
Abundant valuable background and perspective on this topic of the importance for upgrading technical and institutional competence at all levels of the state and local government can be found in the eight volume report and recommendations of the highly respected international transport consultancy, Halcrow, — https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B41h-Am2TpUHdVVrZ0NiVGxNUlE?tid=0B41h-Am2TpUHT25JRXlzQ1dxZE0 —
Specifically on the issue of capacity building, the substantial chapter 8.3 on Institutional Strengthening from the final Halcrow report of 13 March 2013 under the title “The Recommended Transport Master Plan Strategy — is strongly recommended as an expert view from an independent and qualified source.
Finally to fully understand the cycle of main events that took place from the beginning of and defined the PTMP proposal, we would draw your attention to the following humorous (but accurate) three minute summary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B9o1baUaP8
The individuals behind the Penang Master Plan are good, well educated and caring people. But they have the wrong skills in this case.
The present plan and process is seriously flawed. The importance of skills and competence upgrading at all levels of the planning, policy and implementation process cannot be exaggerated. And ever evidence points to the fact that this critical upgrading and education process is being ignored as the key actors continue to believe that the key to cutting road congestion and emissions lies in further infrastructure capacity expansion and not in TDM – Transport Demand Management — as the leading edge of expertise and performance have understood for more than a generation. Penang needs to catch up!
Your comments, criticism and eventual further references and conclusions are most welcome. You might wish to note them here, or address them by email direct to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or by direct video-conference to the Skype address: newmobility.
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About the author:
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France
Bio: Educated as a development economist, Francis Eric Knight Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion, he is MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent non-profit advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, incomplete information, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities. In the autumn of 2018 he committed his life work to the challenges of countering climate change from GHG emissions from the transport sector. (For more see Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh, @ericbritton. email at email@example.com) and Skype: newmobility
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.
- From The Star Online, March 2009 to date
A great wealth of useful information on this troubled and highly divisive PTMP program, coming from a wide variety of sources and reflecting sharply differing views of the sources, reporters and contributors.
Op-Ed by Councillor, Dr. Chee Heng Leng, City Council of Penang Island, appearing in The Star Online, 14 Aug. 2017. He refers to Nicholas Theng’s letter “Let rational minds prevail” (The Star, Aug 9).
Theng argues, first of all, that because the federal Barisan Nasional government refused to build any monorails or LRTs in Penang for the last 10 years, Penangites developed a deep-rooted preference for, and habit of, relying on cars, and that it will take time for them to change. Reasoning that since the LRT (from Komtar to Bayan Lepas) will take seven years to build, and giving one year for people to adapt, he concludes that this will mean another eight years of traffic congestion, and therefore the construction of strategic bypasses (presumably including highways) and public transport is necessary.
Theng’s argument contains assumptions but he is right to pinpoint time as a crucial factor in dealing with our transport problems. He neglects to point out, however, that highways and “strategic bypasses”, not just LRTs, also take a long time to build. The Pan-Island Expressway 1 (PIL1), which is currently under public scrutiny, will also take between five and seven years to build, perhaps even more as the risk of delay is certainly high with 10.1km of its 19.5km under tunnels and much of the rest on viaducts.
About a hundred concerned Penangites gathered peacefully outside the Penang State Assembly this morning to call for an an independent review of SRS Consortium’s outlandish RM46bn transport proposal, which critics have derided as a ‘property play’.
Under the proposal, an RM8bn six-lane highway will eventually link high-end property development on reclaimed land opposite Gurney Plaza off Gurney Drive to more high-end development on three artificial islands in southern Penang Island. Under phase one of the highway, it ends not far from even more high-end property development on reclaimed land now under construction off the coast of southeastern Penang Island.
The multi-ethnic crowd of protesters this morning included concerned residents, academics, environmentalists, park-lovers, advocates of the fishing communities and the marine ecology, representatives of various residents associations and activists.