Thursday, January 11, 2007

Penang Airport Fiasco

There was no typoon, no earthquake, no terrorist attack, no natural disaster but the Penang Airport was closed from 12.30pm to 3pm on Tuesday for extended work on the runway. As a result, more than 20 planes were diverted to other airports and many others were delayed.

What is the reason? Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said in Penang yesterday that the appointed contractor could not finish resurfacing the runway on Monday night. He slammed the contractor for failing to complete the task because of a lack of premix.

I hope the lack of premix is not because the contractor has run out of money to buy more. It could be another Ali Baba contract where the contract has been passed down through a number of parties.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy has ordered an investigation into allegations that the recent resurfacing of the Penang International Airport runway could not be finished on time due to inadequate premix material. Only days ago, the Star ran a full page on the Minister and how well he has done in his job.

On the other hand, things don't really look good for Penang. First, the economy does not see a turn around very soon. Many people in the island state are getting restless with the lack of dynamism lately. Then, the horrible public transport system problem.

Poor urban planning is rearing its ugly head too. Just hop on to Tanjung Bungah, you can see four blocks of 40 storeys high class condominiums piercing through the sky. Traffic problem will inevitably get worse.

Visit Malaysia 2007? Can the state put its act together? It even missed the anniversary of Georgetown as a city in January 2007. Too bad, too late.

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