GEORGE TOWN, Jan 18 — The Penang government is willing to partner with the Penang Port Commission (PPC) for the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal expansion project, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Lim said the state had come to an agreement with the previous PPC chairman, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, to collaborate in an expansion project for the terminal.
He then said his administration was under the assumption that the agreement was still valid as Chua’s successor, Datuk Tan Teik Cheng, is also an MCA leader.
“We already come to an agreement on this and PPC even called for an open tender for the project at that time and we were waiting for the agreement to sign the deal when they changed the chairman,” he said in a press conference in his office today.
Lim said, however, that Tan has not communicated on the matter since taking over.
Lim was responding to Tan’s statement yesterday that the PPC already has a RM200 million expansion plan for the cruise terminal, but could not proceed due to the land dispute involving the cruise terminal.
PPC had wanted to extend the lease for the land title of the cruise terminal when it expired in 2013, but the state government rejected this.
A court case ensued, but PPC discontinued the action and the land remained under the state’s ownership.
PPC is now operating the cruise terminal on state land that was leased on a temporary basis.
Lim today asserted that ownership of the land should not be a factor in the expansion project.
“I don’t understand why he (Tan) thinks the land ownership is an issue when the previous chairman can agree with us to do the project jointly,” he said.
Lim again said Tan has not met with him or state officials to discuss the matter, but latter added that he was not interested in dealing with the PPC chief and would liaise directly with Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
Yesterday, Tan claimed to have started discussions with the state government to resolve the land dispute issue.