GEORGE TOWN, May 20 – A media conference was held today to address the ongoing traffic issues in the Seberang Perai area, specifically along the North-South Highway between Juru and Sungai Dua. The high frequency of traffic collisions in this location has become a local concern, impacting both residents and the economic activities between the three northern states of Peninsular Malaysia. The current situation has had indirect consequences on various fronts. Firstly, it has limited the movement of industrial and service sector inputs along the value chain.

As the North-South Highway is the primary route for cargo and passenger transportation across the northern region of the state.  Secondly, approximately 70 percent of cargo in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) consists of high-value goods that require efficient logistics services. Delays in operating time indirectly affect the region’s competitiveness and productivity. The NCER states contribute 36 percent or RM447 billion of national exports.

Thirdly, the development potential of import and export hubs in the NCER, such as the Port of Penang and the Penang International Airport (PIA), has been hindered.  Lastly, the traffic congestion has become a daily challenge for the approximately 1.3 million residents residing in the three northern states. To tackle these issues, the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) previously submitted an application for a solution under the 11th Malaysia Plan (RMK11) in 2020 to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).

Following discussions at the Penang State Steering Committee Meeting in July 2022, several agreements were reached. NCIA would organize a workshop involving relevant stakeholders, including the Ministry of Public Works (KKR), Malaysian Highways Authority (LLM), and PLUS, to coordinate project planning. Additionally, NCIA would take the lead in a medium-term improvement project aimed at alleviating traffic congestion between Juru and Sungai Dua along the Plus Highway.

The Federal Government would consider approving the necessary allocation for the implementation of this project. Building upon these agreements, NCIA has reapplied for funding under Rolling Plan 4 of the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK12) to the Ministry of Economy. The objective is to conduct the Seberang Perai Traffic Dispersal Study, which aims to benefit all parties involved. In response to the application, the Ministry of Economy has confirmed acceptance of the study’s implementation, with a presentation scheduled for the end of May 2023.

The proponents of this project are hopeful that it will secure approval for implementation through the 2024 Budget. Beyond alleviating traffic congestion, this initiative is expected to drive economic growth by ensuring the smooth flow of goods and enhancing the competitiveness of the region.

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