KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 — Penang’s Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng today said he will be joining the state residents this Thursday morning to say a final goodbye to the state’s iconic ferry service which has been in operation for 126 years.
Lim, who is also secretary-general of federal opposition party DAP, said it was the new Perikatan Nasional government which had decided to stop running the Penang ferry service from next year onwards.
“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 1st 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 Thursday,” he said in a statement today.
Lim said that the iconic Penang ferry service would have still continued if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition had remained in power at the federal government level.
Lim said that the Finance Ministry under him had previously stipulated that the Penang Port Sdn Bhd must continue to run the ferry service, as part of the condition for the federal government’s RM30 million grant to the company to run the ferry service.
Lim said the PH federal government had not opposed the idea of adding on catamarans, provided that the existing ferry service be maintained.
He said the PH administration had then acknowledged the cost and difficulty of finding suitable spare parts for the ferries, and that was the reason it had only insisted that the remaining two or three ferries be allowed to operate.
“In other words, the catamarans will be operating in parallel with the existing ferry services as is being practised by many countries such as Hong Kong or Canada, a co-existence of heritage and modernity,” he said.
He said both the Transport Ministry and the Penang Port Commission under the new PN federal government decided to terminate Penang’s ferry service on December 31 “without any sentiment for its unique historic and heritage value”.