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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Penang Umno slams RM10b sukuk plan for LRT



A Penang Umno leader has criticised the state's decision to issue a RM10 billion sukuk to finance the Bayan Lepas-Komtar Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.
Former Pulau Betong assemblyperson Muhammad Farid Saad said if the bond is issued, the state should cancel the reclamation project and its three artificial islands.
"Is the state government able to pay back its debt? The state's revenue is mostly from the sale of land and this has reduced substantially as there is no more land to sell," he told Malaysiskini.
"Would more taxes be imposed on Penangites from now on if the state is serious about issuing a sukuk bond?

"Would building the costly LRT - one of the most expensive in the world - be able to solve the transport problem?" he asked.
Farid said the RM10 billion bond should not be used for the LRT alone as the amount could be utilised to resolve the entire state's transport problem on the island and mainland in Seberang Perai.
Yesterday, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow told the state legislative assembly that a RM10 billion sukuk bond would be issued to finance the LRT, which is a component of the RM46 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
The PTMP has been opposed by fisherfolk and NGOs, who claim it would bring about environmental disasters and loss of livelihood.
This bond idea, Chow claimed, was proposed by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in a letter to Penang dated Oct 15 as a guarantee from the federal government.
He added that a special purpose vehicle (SPV) would be formed so that the bond could be issued.
The chief minister was responding to Jason Ong Khan Lee (Pakatan Harapan-Kebun Bunga) who queried about the status of the Penang government's application for RM10 billion to fund the LRT project.
"Would the state still create the three artificial islands to cover the cost of the RM46 billion PTMP if funding is obtained?" Ong asked.
To this, Chow replied that the reclamation project would still continue so as to fund the PTMP, which promised to solve Penang's daily transport woes.
The LRT covers 29.5km with 27 stations from Komtar to Bayan Lepas. - Mkini

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