GEORGE TOWN, Jan 27 — The Penang government will explore its options for the iconic ferry that Penang Port Commission (PPC) has presented to the state, said state exco Zairil Khir Johari.
The transport and infrastructure committee chairman said the state exco will then decide on this.
“Factors that we will take into consideration include restoration and maintenance cost,” he said when contacted regarding PPC’s earlier announcement today that it has agreed to give one of its ferries to the Penang government.
Zairil also expressed his gratitude to PPC for the gift of the iconic ferry.
The Penang lawmaker had on January 18 informed PPC that the state government was willing to take over possession of one of the iconic ferries that have been retired since this year.
Zairil said the state administration wanted to ensure the 45-year-old vessels, which had long been a symbol of Penang, were not turned into scrap metal.
The iconic car-carrying ferries were retired from January 1 onwards, leaving only one to ply the Penang channel to carry motorcycles and bicycles until 2022.
Passengers who are on foot will have to take fast boats from the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal.
Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB), which took over the ferry service from Prasarana Malaysia Bhd this year, plans to introduce passenger-only water buses and vehicle transporters by July 2022.
Earlier today, PPC chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng said one of the iconic ferries will be gifted to the state due to the good relationship and cooperation between the state and PPC.
Tan also announced a request for proposal (RFP) to turn the remaining ferries into floating museums, restaurants or tourist ferries.
Tan said the RFP document will be on sale from Friday onwards at the PPC website with details available on PPC’s social media.
The RFP is for a 10-year lease of the ferries with an option to extend the lease for another five years.