THE Penang government is looking forward to securing the necessary approvals for the Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1) and the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) projects before moving forward to the next stage.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said it was important to obtain the approvals first before the state could move to the next step.
“If we don’t get the approvals, what is there to talk about the (bridging) loan?
“I have said this before, that until and unless we obtain the approvals, we can’t do anything, let alone start the project.
“We need the approvals for us to move to next stage. The next stage includes financial arrangement,” Chow told a press conference in Komtar today.
He was responding to a news article in The Star which reported that the PIL1 highway project was hit by a bridging loan setback.
“The report did not reflect the actual situation. I did not say anything about the Federal (Government) not approving (the RM1 billion bridging loan).
“I can’t control the reporter. I can’t control what you write. At the moment, the loan issue is irrelevant,” he told reporters.
Chow said he received a message from the journalist on March 12 questioning him about the delay in the PIL1 project.
He said that the state was awaiting approvals for both the PIL1 and PSR projects.
“The PIL1 project only needed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval but we can’t start the PIL1 project even after approval is obtained; unless we also obtain the approval for the PSR project.
“This is because the funding model for the PIL1 project comes from the PSR project.
“Hence, we can’t say there is a delay. The ‘delay’ is (actually) awaiting approvals before we can (continue) working on the details,” Chow said.
He also said that it is the project delivery partner’s responsibility to obtain the bridging finance.
“We will try to assist them. If we can get a loan, then their bridging finance will not be so huge.
“However, it is still premature to talk about this,” Chow said.
Chow had reportedly told a radio interview recently that the PSR project would be presented to the National Physical Planning Council for a decision to be made. The meeting is scheduled to be held on April 16.
“It is considered the ‘last crucial hurdle’. We have everything ready, such as our Penang Structure Plan 2030 (PSP 2030) draft which includes the proposed reclamation sites,” he said.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Alissala Thian
Video by Alvie Cheng