Butterworth ready for Penang Sentral



AFTER a delay of seven years, the RM2 billion Penang Sentral project in Butterworth is set to take off and Penang residents and visitors can look forward to a state-of-the-art transportation hub in about three years, there are no further hitches.

The fact that both the federal and state governments are giving their full support for the project, in which first phase will include the hub, a business hotel and shopping mall, is most gratifying.

After several bad starts and numerous hitches, it looks like all parties are now set to work together for the good of the public and ensuring that comfort, cleanliness and safety are accorded to those making the crossing across the Penang Channel.

It has not been easy for ferry commuters, who have had to contend with many inconveniences, including climbing four flights of stairs, to get to the nearby train station from the bus terminal.

Commuters are also exposed to the rain and sun and it has especially been difficult for the elderly and disabled.

The project’s developer, Penang Sentral Sdn Bhd, has reportedly submitted plans to the local authorities for permission to proceed with the project, which will give the people of Penang and the northern states a transportation hub that will boost the tourism, logistics and transportation sectors.

Penang Sentral Sdn Bhd — a 49:51 joint venture between Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd and Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd — is expected to offer segmented areas for buses and taxis, adequate retail spaces with escalators and elevators, and covered and air-conditioned walkways to the Keretapi Tanah Melayu train station and the Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal.

Just like the newly-opened Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge, which is set to spur the development of Batu Kawan on mainland Penang and Batu Maung on the island, Penang Sentral will also play a major role in the growth of Butterworth.

The first phase of Penang Sentral alone will encompass the transportation hub and a 3.5- or four-star business hotel, along with a shopping mall. Subsequent phases will see residential and commercial units built.

The project is set to transform Butterworth into a modern metropolitan area, while the economic spin-offs of such a development will be tremendous.

Apart from boosting real estate values in the vicinity of the project area, Butterworth — just like its southern cousin Batu Kawan in Seberang Prai — is poised to be given a second look for those in search of employment and housing.

With its role as an integrated terminal for ferries, buses, taxis, trains and a planned monorail station, Penang Sentral will serve as the supporting infrastructure for the KTMB double-tracking electric train project when it is completed.

With a potential gross development value of RM2 billion once fully completed, Penang Sentral will stand out as the catalyst of growth in rejuvenating not only the fortunes of Butterworth, but also that of the northern region.

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