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GEORGE TOWN, Feb 26 — The developer for three proposed man-made islands to the south of Penang could make the northern Malaysian state into the next Marina Bay — the popular artificial island in Singapore.
Gamuda Bhd Deputy Group Managing Director Rashdan Yusof said the proposed islands that are part of the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) project will be anchored on the state’s strong electronics and electrical (E&E) sector and have great potential to be a key economic driver.
“It can also lead to the creation of new tourism products, maybe bring in Disneyland,” he said in his presentation on “the state of our economy” at the Penang International Business and Investment Summit here today.
He said the islands will become an economic hub for the state but it will not be elitist.
“The whole idea for the project is that it has to be inclusive, it has to have the affordability factor, so it is not elitist and will include all Penangites,” he said.
He said Penang has been seeing a deceleration of growth in recent years and blamed it on the scarcity of lands in the island state.
“It is due to the scarcity of land, opportunities go to other states and Penang will lose out,” he said.
He said this is the reason why PSR is essential for the state’s future growth and its economy.
The plans for PSR was to create three different islands off the coast, specifically island A, B and C.
Rashdan said island A will primarily become a new industrial park.
“It’s proximity to the airport will make it a prime area for factories for shipment of their products,” he said.
He said this is the reason why the Penang International Airport is important to serve the local industries.
He said the airport expansion is essential to meet the demands of the industries in the state.
Island B will be specifically for high-end support services for the industrial park, such as financial services, business services and also tourism, he said.
Finally, island C will be for the creation of newer tourism products for Penang.
“We have the potential to create something as successful as Sentosa Island in Singapore or even be better than Singapore,” he said.
He said the three islands’ proximity and connectivity to Batu Kawan will also create an eco-system that brings development for the mainland.
As for mobility, the islands could have a complete transportation system that residents may not even need cars to travel around the islands, he added.
“We are looking at it in a manner in which it will be accessible to all,” he said.
Rashdan also said PSR is a catalyst for the state’s smart city vision.
“It will be the hub for technology that can be shared will everyone, to reach all levels of society,” he said.
Finally, he pointed to Dubai which has plenty of land and yet, they too reclaimed the sea.
“Look at Dubai, they are so successful and rich, we can be like them too with this project,” he said.
Gamuda Berhad is part of the SRS Consortium, the project delivery partner for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
SRS Consortium will be reclaiming the sea off the coast for PSR.
PSR is the funding module of the RM46 billion PTMP which will include a Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the building of Pan Island Link 1 (PIL1).