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PN gets rid of Penang’s iconic ferry service, has zero respect for its heritage

Press Statement
28th December 2020

Final Goodbye To The Iconic 126-Year Old Penang Ferry Service On Thursday 10am 31st December At The Penang Island Ferry Terminal

Penangites can say our final goodbye to the iconic 126-year old Penang ferry service on Thursday 31st December at the Penang Island Ferry Terminal. Let us take our final trip as passengers (not vehicles) in fond nostalgia of this basic mode of transport before the completion of the first Penang Bridge, and reiterate that the iconic Penang ferry should be retained in the interests of heritage and history for our children. I will be going at 10am on Thursday.

Had the Pakatan Harapan government not been replaced by the unelected Perikatan Nasional government in March 2020, the iconic ferry service would still be continued. Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul bin Tengku Abdul Aziz had confirmed in Parliament on 17the December 2020 that the Finance Ministry under me had stipulated that the ferry service must be continued as a condition for the government’s RM30 million grant to Penang Port Sdn Bhd to run the ferry service.

The Pakatan Harapan government was not opposed to adding on catamarans provided that the existing ferry service be maintained. We acknowledge its cost and difficulty in finding suitable replacement and spare parts. That is why we insisted that the 2 or 3 ferries remaining be allowed to operate. In other words, the catamarans will be operating in parallel with the existing ferry services as is practiced by many countries such as Hong Kong or Canada, a co-existence of heritage and modernity.

This is unlike the Transport Ministry and Penang Port Commission (PPC) under the new PN federal government, which decided to terminate the ferry service outright on 31 December 2020 without any sentiment for its unique historic and heritage value. Let us say our final goodbye on Thursday. Just as we will not forget our iconic ferry service, Penangites will never forgive the culprits responsible for terminating the iconic ferries.

Lim Guan Eng
DAP Secretary-General
MP for Bagan

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