STATE executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari is a man in a hurry these days and yet he looks cool.
Given the Transport portfolio in addition to his Infrastructure portfolio recently, he has indeed quite a heavy load on his shoulders.
In a recent state executive council (exco) reshuffle effective Sept 15, Zairil took over the Transport portfolio from Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow besides maintaining his Flood Mitigation, Public Works and Utilities portfolio which has now been rebranded as the Infrastructure portfolio.
Chow, who made the reshuffle following a mid-term review, currently holds the Economic Development portfolio in addition to his Land and Communications portfolios.
The reshuffle affects all of the 11 exco members except for state Local Government, Housing, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo and Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee.
Zairil said his main focus now would be to ensure that the implementation of the mega projects in Penang run smoothly.
“As for my new portfolio (Transport), my main thrust would be to ensure mega projects such as the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) and its components such as the Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (BL LRT) project, Pan Island Link I (PIL I), three paired roads project and others can continue without any interruptions.
“These include works on the Penang South Reclamation (PSR), which is supposed to fund the PTMP.
“PTMP and PSR also are both considered as controversial projects due to the strong interest shown by our political foes and other related parties.
“And these two crucial projects are under my portfolio. So, it is clear that the Transport portfolio comes with a huge responsibility and massive challenges.
“Thus, it is not going to be easy but I will do my best to carry out the duty and I am ready for it,” Zairil told Buletin Mutiara during a brief interview session in Komtar.
Apart from the mega projects, Zairil said other modes of transportation in Penang would also be prioritised as well.
“This includes the improvement of bus services as well as ferry services.
“We also would like to explore the possibility of adding water taxi or a water bus service in the near future as other modes of transportation for Penangites,” he added.
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Adleena Rahayu Ahmad Radzi