KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Port Dickson’s tourism industry will benefit if the existing jetty there is upgraded to accommodate more ship passengers, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said today.
Loke expressed his belief that the jetty could help with Port Dickson’s tourism if expanded, sharing the same ideas as Negri Sembilan’s state government.
“I am of the view that this jetty can be optimised. Now it is used for ferries to Dumai (in Indonesia) and occasionally cruises from Genting, but it is not regular, not long-term.
“If we have a bigger facility, a bigger capacity and operated and managed in a more comprehensive and orderly manner, then I view this jetty as potentially becoming a catalyst to develop the economy, especially the tourism sector in Port Dickson.
“That is something which we at the Ministry of Transport and the state government will see how we can cooperate on,” he said in a press conference after visiting the jetty.
A video clip of his press conference was posted on his official Facebook page.
In the same press conference, Loke said the docking of Genting’s cruise ships for a few times at Port Dickson’s jetty has drawn the attention of the Negri Sembilan government, which views this as a potential for local tourism.
“Because each time the cruise ship docks, the ship will bring in thousands of passengers. If we can attract passengers to disembark, walk around and spend, this will develop the local economy, especially in Port Dickson,” he said.
The cruise ships from Genting currently dock outside the jetty, with boats then used to bring passengers to the jetty.
He noted that the Negri Sembilan government has proposed the upgrading of the jetty to become a bigger facility that can cater to more tourists.
“This morning, we received a briefing from the Marine Department. I suggest the state government gives a more comprehensive proposal paper to the Transport Ministry, whether the state government wants to operate or they want to take over the management and operations of the jetty, we can discuss how the direction can be done,” Loke said.
Loke also referred to a plot of reserve land belonging to the Railway Assets Corporation at the old jetty near the Marine Department, adding: “That land, we will discuss with the state government on how we can do a joint-venture to develop a tourism product there.”
Loke, who was himself born in Seremban in Negri Sembilan, noted Port Dickson’s location by the Straits of Melaka and its economic potential.
“Port Dickson has all these while been a tourist destination and the proximity to Kuala Lumpur and KLIA gives Port Dickson an advantage. And we really hope to develop Port Dickson together with the state government and certainly together with Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is capable of attracting many investors to come in to Port Dickson.
“We hope with these various factors, it can help develop the economy in Port Dickson,” he added.
Anwar, who is PKR president, won the Port Dickson parliament seat in a by-election last October.
The Negri Sembilan state administration is led by Pakatan Harapan (PH), the same coalition helming the federal government and to which both Anwar and Loke belong.