GEORGE TOWN, April 21 — The Penang Light Rail Transit (LRT) Mutiara Line project is poised to significantly improve mobility, reduce traffic congestion, and bolster economic and tourism sectors while aligning with the Silicon Island initiative to establish Penang as a top destination for high-tech investors.

State executive councillor for infrastructure, transport and digital, Zairil Khir Johari, said this transformative infrastructure project has the potential to be a catalyst for Penang’s rise as it bridges geographical gaps as well as propels Penang into the spotlight, showcasing its potential as a prime investment destination.

He also highlighted recent reports of investors shying away from Singapore due to the escalating cost of operating business there and in this context, Penang has ready infrastructure to offer itself as an alternative to Singapore.

“In the shifting landscape of global investment, Singapore’s soaring operational costs have cast a shadow over its once-prominent allure.


“As investors retreat from the Lion City, Penang emerges as a compelling and attractive alternative with its well-established infrastructure. The LRT project will further boost Penang’s image to attract investors,” he told Bernama.

On top of that, he said, the LRT project also promises a better quality of life through efficient transportation and environmental sustainability by reducing carbon emissions and supports the goals of the National Energy Transition Roadmap and Penang2030 vision.

Zairil said the LRT project has been on the drawing board of the Penang state government for nine years now and it has undergone the process for all the necessary and critical approvals, such as the Railway Scheme and Environmental Impact Assessment.


Meanwhile, Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the LRT project would have a positive spillover effect on the state’s economy.

“The construction of LRT means there will be jobs for the local contractors, resulting in higher demand for building materials such as steel, concrete and machinery, among others.

“Upon completion, the LRT infrastructure would help to ease traffic congestion, lessen travelling time for Penangites to go to work and perhaps also reduce carbon emissions along the way,” he added.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook announced on March 29, 2024, that the Cabinet has approved the Penang LRT project, with MRT Corporation as the project developer and asset owner.

This decision means that the Federal Government would be taking over the project from the state government.

The minister also noted that the project is split into three components. The first component is the civil and construction works from Silicon Island to Komtar in George Town, the second is works from Komtar to Penang Sentral, and the third is the turnkey contract for systems and rolling stocks on a build-maintain-transfer basis.

Loke said that Gamuda Bhd’s 60 per cent-owned SRS Consortium is appointed as the project delivery partner (PDP) for the first segment and that the overall targeted completion of the Penang LRT is by 2030.

In a note, CIMB Securities analyst Mak Hoy Ken said it is estimated that SRS Consortium had funded over RM100 million to conduct preliminary technical studies and designs to kickstart the Penang Transport Master Plan as well as obtaining approval for its relevant studies.

“Our preliminary estimates reveal that the civil works portion for this 24km stretch could be worth nearly RM8 billion. We believe the project could be further subdivided into more than 30 packages to benefit a wider spectrum of subcontractors and suppliers, besides ensuring an equitable level of bumiputera participation,” he added. — Bernama