Could these future Malaysian islands be the next Singapore?

Penang Island and mainland Penang as viewed from Penang Hill. Kuen Hoong/Shutterstock

The mooted creation of three artificial islands off Penang will not only create more landbanks for the Malaysian state but also drive its economy to become the “next Singapore”, according to infrastructure developer Gamuda Bhd.

Designed to finance the MYR46-billion (USD11.3 billion) Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), reclamation works off the coast of Permatang Damar Laut are expected to address land scarcity in the state and evoke thriving city-states around the world.

“We have the potential to create something as successful as Sentosa Island in Singapore, or even better than Singapore,” said Rashdan Yusof, deputy group managing director of Gamuda Bhd, the largest shareholder in the consortium overseeing PTMP.

“Look at Dubai (where reclamation is common). They are so successful and rich. We can be like them, too,” said Rashdan, adding that the reclaimed lands will “maybe even bring in Disneyland one day.”

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow expressed confidence Putrajaya would approve the PTMP by June.

The islands will span a land area of 1,800 hectares. Island A will be reclaimed adjacent to the Penang International Airport and serve as a strategic point for aviation logistics, while Island B will be home to global business services. Island C is ideal for theme parks or tourism projects.

Funds from the auction of the islands will be used to defray the construction of major transport infrastrcures, including the Pan Island Link 1 highway and the Komtar-Bayan Lepas light rail transit. A joint venture between Gamuda Bhd and MMC Corp Bhd to build an underground MRT line won a special recognition awardat last year’s PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Malaysia).