Transport Ministry, state government to discuss Penang ferry service


THE Transport Ministry will discuss with the Penang state government if the latter intends to take over the ferry service in Penang.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said a close relation between the federal and state governments is important because all decisions of the federal government need the support of the state government.

“In the context of the ferry service we are providing to the people of Penang, I assure you that as the Transport Minister, whatever views and inputs from the state government will be taken into consideration.

“We will discuss in terms of background whether the state government still intends to take over (the ferry service). If it wants to take over in the long run, we will have to amend the Act,” he said during the Minister’s Question Time session at the Dewan Rakyat today.

He said this in response to a supplementary question by Chow Kon Yeow (PH-Tanjong), who is also the Penang Chief Minister on whether the ministry will provide complete information to the state government and the people of Penang on the long-term ferry service plan in Penang.

Wee said the state government had written a letter to the Ministry of Transport in 2015 about the intention to take over the ferry service.

“The state government under Bagan (Lim Guan Eng as Chief Minister) in 2015 intended to take over. In 2015 (he) wrote a letter to the ministry. In 2016, he said KIV (keep in view) first.

“A decision was made after that as Rapid Penang, under Prasarana Malaysia Bhd, provides public transport, so that is why there was an idea to set up Rapid Ferry under Prasarana three years ago.

“In the current situation, the decision made by Pakatan Harapan before it was changed to a catamaran service, and now it is in the implementation stage. In the transition period (government), we are bearing the operating cost even though it is heavy at RM2 million a month,” he said.

Wee added that the operating the ferry service in the state is about RM20 to RM25 million a year. During the transition period, the ministry has asked Penang Port Sdn Bhd to take over the Penang ferry service on Sept 1.