Penang Smart Parking contractor says to complete installing 36,000 lots by July 2020

A Penang Smart Parking system marker is seen on Gat Lebuh China, George Town August 20, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A Penang Smart Parking system marker is seen on Gat Lebuh China, George Town August 20, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 21 — The beleaguered Penang Smart Parking contractor, HeiTech Padu Berhad, has given its reassurances that it will meet the July 2020 deadline to implement the system on all 36,000 parking lots in Penang.

In a statement issued in response to the criticisms levelled against it when the system failed from the day it was launched a mere four days ago, HeiTech expressed its confidence in its mitigation plans to make things right.

“We are confident with the mitigation plan, public feedback and strong collaboration with the local councils and Penang State Government, the Penang Smart Parking Project (with a total of 36,000 parking lots) will meet its overall planned deadline and be completed by July 2020,” said the statement issued by the company’s corporate communications department.

They commended the Penang state government, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) for taking the “best approach” in launching the Pilot Phase of the project.

“The feedbacks we are receiving is extremely invaluable to all parties to ensure the best possible system is delivered,” they added.

As for the unavailability of the Smart Parking application for Android devices, they said their team are working diligently on it.

They then said more than 10,000 downloads on Apple’s iOS through the App Store were recorded and that those using it are providing them with valuable information.

“While the number of sensors installed is also raised as an issue, the Pilot Phase will be in effect until end of 2019. Plans have been made to mitigate the installation of the sensors at the designated sites,” they said.

The company was supposed to have installed 647 sensors in George Town and 350 in Seberang Perai by August 18 but so far had only installed 30 in George Town.

Yesterday, both local councils have issued show cause letters to HeiTech demanding for explanations on the delay in installing the sensors and the issues with the mobile apps.

HeiTech then stressed that the project is a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in which it will invest fully in implementing the system and operating it for a seven-year concession.

The Penang state government, MBPP and MPSP did not incur any capital or operational expenditures on it, they said.

This means the contractor will be investing the estimated cost of RM115 million to implement and operate the system over the next seven years.

They reminded the public that the newly launched system is still in the pilot phase.

“The findings from all the stakeholders, including the public is valuable for us to ensure that together with Penang state government, Penang Island City Council and Seberang Perai Municipal Council, we would be able to provide Penang with a solid dependable system, helping to increase the Penangites’ quality of life,” they said.

The RM115 million smart parking system was officially launched by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow on Sunday but immediately after that, users encountered various problems with the system.

Many took to social media to complain over the faulty system while some demanded that action be taken against the contractor.

Yesterday, MBPP, MPSP, State Exco Jagdeep Singh Deo and HeiTech Vice Executive President Abdul Halim Md Lassim held a joint press conference to explain the issue following public uproar over the system.

Abdul Halim apologised and explained that they had some technical issues with Google Playstore which delayed the readiness of the app for download.

“This will take a few more days for us to resolve and we are working with Google support to put up the app as soon as possible,” he said.

He also gave his reassurances that the company was taking mitigation steps to rectify issues reported by users.

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