Photo via TrekEarth
It seems your petitions to keep the iconic Penang ferries in service worked, guys!
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz told Parliament today (December 17th) this will be the condition set by the government to the Penang Port Commission (PPC) and Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB), which will take over ferry services in the state.
The previous Pakatan Harapan administration had approved a RM30 million-allocation for PPC and PPSB to take over the ferry services and confirmed that the sum will be paid in two annual installments.
“A total of RM15 million for 2021 is included in the allocation that was approved under the Supply Bill 2021. The government will ensure that Penang Port continues with the Penang ferry services which is iconic and of heritage value,” said Zafrul.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow welcomed Zafrul’s announcement just as he was holding a press conference in George Town at the same time.
He had earlier hoped that the government would consider investing in new ferries, similar to its current fleet of iconic vessels, instead of replacing them with water buses and vehicle transporters.
“If they are spending RM30 million on catamarans, why not consider spending RM90 million to order new ferries to replace the ferries that do not comply with seaworthy requirements? I believe that many commuters and Penangites have called for the iconic ferries to be maintained,” he said.
Two days ago, PPC chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng said only one ferry will remain in operation to transport bicycles and motorcycles to and from the island and mainland in the interim from 2021 to July 2022.
He added that new water buses and vehicle transporters are expected to be introduced in July 2022 while the old ferries will be put out of commission entirely by that time.
Let’s hope we don’t see the end of the Penang ferries anytime soon!
by Kyle Roshen Jacob