• Chow said he was aware that the LRT project could not solve 100% of traffic congestion problems on the Pearl of the Orient, but it was part of efforts and a beginning for the state government to help people deal with daily traffic issues.

GEORGE TOWN (April 2): Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that continue to oppose the Penang Light Rail Transit (LRT) Mutiara Line project have been urged to consider the benefits of the project, especially in terms of socio-economic development for the people in the long term.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the project has gone through various processes and extensive engagement sessions involving the public and NGOs before it was approved.

"We hope the NGOs opposing the LRT project can see it as a whole; moreover, the project is supported by the people, with over 90% of them expressing support during public engagement sessions.

"This is the time for implementation. If there are any issues, they will be managed by the company appointed to implement the project. We hope those still sceptical can look at the bigger picture," he told a press conference in conjunction with the Aspen-Klippa Penang Bridge International Bridge Marathon 2024 at his office here on Monday.

He was commenting on media reports regarding calls by several environmental NGOs, including the Malaysian Nature Society (SAM), for the government to review the proposed LRT due to alleged high costs and excessive estimated usage.

Chow said he was aware that the LRT project could not solve 100% of traffic congestion problems on the Pearl of the Orient, but it was part of efforts and a beginning for the state government to help people deal with daily traffic issues.

Chow, who is also the state finance, economic development, land and communications committee chairman, said the estimated cost of RM10.5 billion was a projection based on the system and design of the trains to be used.

He said the actual cost would be determined after the request for proposal (RFP) was conducted and finalised.

Last Friday, the federal government officially took over the Penang LRT project from the state government, following the Cabinet's approval of the development proposal for the project on March 22.

The Mutiara Line LRT, targeted to be operational by 2030, will run from Silicon Island to Komtar and then cross the channel to Penang Sentral in Seberang Perai.

On the Aspen-Klippa Penang Bridge International Bridge Marathon, Chow said it would take place on Dec 15 at Aspen Vision City in Batu Kawan with a run across the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah Bridge.

He expects about 30,000 people to take part in the marathon, the first to be held on the mainland.

It will feature three categories — full marathon (42km), half marathon (21km) and a 10km run.

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