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GEORGE TOWN, Dec 1 — Penang will not give up on its proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) project despite Putrajaya withdrawing its guarantee, said Chow Kon Yeow.
The Penang chief minister said the state will continue with its LRT project as it generally has several other financing options to fund projects under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
“At the same time, the state government will continue to win the federal government’s confidence in prioritising the financing of the LRT project and give equal treatment to Penang as we have continued to play an important role by taking the lead in attracting foreign direct investments and creating thousands of job opportunities not only for the state but also for northern Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.
Chow was responding to a recent announcement by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz that the federal government will not provide a government guarantee for a US$500 million (RM2 billion) loan application for Penang to partially finance the RM9.5 billion LRT project.
He expressed his disappointment in the finance minister for repeatedly stating the rejection of the state’s application for a loan guarantee to fund the LRT project that will link Komtar to Bayan Lepas despite the importance of the project for the state’s economic development.
“I wish to remind the Finance Ministry and Perikatan Nasional that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wrote to me, in a letter dated October 1, 2019, that the federal government will provide a guarantee for the bonds issued by the state for the project,” he said.
Chow said he presented the above arguments to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed during a discussion session on allocations under the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK-12) for Penang on November 26.
“I also stated the same to Tengku Zafrul during a dialogue session on the Budget 2021 Consultation for Penang organised by the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority on August 8 and during RMK-12 engagement sessions with Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali on August 2 last year,” he said.