How do you “public transport” a place like Penang?

Gosh. What a loaded question.

If you’ve been reading the news (read: Free Malaysia Today), you would notice that there has been a lot of back and forth between those who want the Penang LRT and those who believe the focus should be on existing public transport.

Both have good points – Penang Island has limited land for more roads, or even widening the roads. Penang Island is crowded enough to cater for the passengers.

For naysayers, an LRT won’t make sense if you can’t get the ridership – even in Kuala Lumpur where you have 10 million people surrounding it, the ridership has only breached 600,000 passengers daily after 20 years of existing. There should be focus on already existing public transport instead – which is true – is there actually a bus that goes to the Penang International Airport?

But then again, having a bus that goes to the airport, coupled with the traffic in the area, would be a no-brainer.

For myself, an LRT for Penang would make sense, if it connected a few areas – the airport to the heritage area, the heritage area to the tourism beach area of Batu Feringghi, Batu Feringghi to Balik Pulau, Balik Pulau to Bayan Lepas airport, and all of this, to the mainland and hopefully link up to Penang Sentral where commuters can then take the ETS at Butterworth station or an express bus.

But then again, if you actually did this, why would you need the SkyCab?

So, perhaps the LRT can stick to the Island, linked to the ferry terminal which will have the SkyCab, and from there take the link to the mainland?

It has to cover such areas and link up with all public transport and people hubs, and that is the largest challenge of all. Unless you link it to the mainland, which can then lower the need for people to cross the bridge on the ferries (which is timely) or even the buses (which depends on congestion), then the LRT won’t make a big impact.


Federalising Penang is political

Federalising Penang is political
By Hafidz Baharom
To understand the recent idea to federalise Penang, I would have to take you back to the Malaysian timeline. 
It has nothing to do with “helping all races”. The move to federalise Penang is an old school Umno tactic to deny administering a state by the DAP. 
And it did not start with this new idea of making Penang a federal territory. 
It started, all the way back to 1969, all towards 1974. 
See, in the 1969 general election, the DAP almost took control of Selangor state, which led to the 13 May incident. 
I know, this has been played to death and even used for political ammo, but one of the larger effects was the need to keep Selangor under “Malay” (read:Umno) control. 
This was achieved by carving out Kuala Lumpur from Selangor by 1 February 1974, and making it a the first Federal Territory. 
Of course, they used the excuse of wanting to make it stand out in the world. 
And in August/September 1974, they held the first election after the state of emergency. Selangor no longer saw a DAP threat to run the state, since Kuala Lumpur and all its seats were no longer affecting who would run the state. 
What happened in Selangor, the federalising of territories, is what is being done to Penang even now, in order to stop the DAP from continuing its victory streak in Penang and running it as a state government. 
I’m actually surprised nobody has yet to bring it up. Maybe it’s the racist tinge of the issue, maybe it’s the reminder of May 13, or maybe it’s the fact that nobody wishes to see it as so. 
But there it is. 
There. I’ve said it. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.