The iconic Penang ferries, which have been around for more than a century, is now in a state of uncertainty after Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Wee Ka Siong reconfirmed that it might be replaced with a pedestrian-only catamaran.
In a parliament session on December 7th, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said that he was informed by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) plans to replace the ferries starting from mid-2022.
Photo via Pinterest
According to the New Straits Times, Dr. Wee told the Dewan Rakyat that only 200,000 vehicles used the ferry services while 1.2 million were pedestrians.
As such, he said, a pedestrian-only catamaran would be enough to meet demands, while the two bridges were enough for vehicular traffic.
Penangites, however, do not want to let go of their iconic ferries and are hoping that the ferry service would not be discontinued as it is seen as an icon of Penang.
The federal government has been urged to reconsider a proposal to replace the existing Penang ferry service with pedestrian-only catamaran.
Photo via Malay Mail
Persatuan Kemajuan NUSA Pulau Pinang chairman, Hazizi Padzil said the government should instead improve on the existing ferry’s quality and services.
“It will be sad if the iconic Penang ferry, which connects Penang island and the mainland, is stopped and replaced with pedestrian-only catamarans, among others.
“We should not reject modernisation but we should also not ignore what we have now. Instead, we should work on improving it,” he said.
Photo via Penang Malaysia
According to Berita Mutiara, S. Kumaraguru, a freelance photographer said: “Being a Penangite, the ferry holds a sentimental value for me. It had been something that I always looked forward to when my parents were visiting my relatives on the mainland. Even after becoming an adult, it thrills me each time I take a ferry ride.”
“Penang ferry is undeniably a tourist attraction and one of its kind in Malaysia. It is a heritage for us. Let it stay that way as our evergreen transport over the sea, from island to mainland and vice versa,” said Josephine Kumarathevan.
Netizens, of course, were saddened by the news and shared some of their memories of taking the Penang ferry.
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By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat