The Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), having taken sight of Penang Forum’s invitation to debate with the Penang state government on the proposed Bayan Lepas elevated light rail (LRT) project, believes it would serve as an appropriate platform for the people of Penang to appreciate this contentious issue.
By extension, we propose that the debate ought to include the Penang state government’s “Penang Transport Master Plan” which, as we understand, includes the “Penang South Reclamation” project. The reclamation, we understand, will have an impact on the traditional livelihoods of thousands of fishermen not only in Penang but also in Kedah and Perak.
Under the circumstances, we are convinced that the Penang state government is under both a political and moral obligation to act with utmost transparency in this matter.
The state cannot abdicate its accountability to the people of Penang on such a massive transportation plan until and unless it is prepared to take part in a public debate on this sensitive matter of concern.
We, therefore, urge the Penang state government to take up the challenge, from Penang Forum, to a comprehensive public discourse on this issue.
K Veeriah is secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress.