Penang Channel must be dredged, insists Guan Eng

limguangeng-penangportGEORGE TOWN: Penang Port must keep its promise to deepen the channel that separates the island and the mainland, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.

This follows a report that deepening would not be carried out.

Lim said according to the agreement signed three years ago, the current channel’s seabed depth, which stands at 11.5m, must be deepened another 3m to 14.5m.

At a press conference in Komtar, Lim said the cost of doing so was RM353 million and was supposed to be honoured by the parent company of Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB), Seaport Terminal.

PPSB chief operating officer Sasedharan Vasudevan told The Edge on Monday they might delay capital dredging of the North Channel, as there was “no need” to accommodate bigger vessels for now.

Lim said if Seaport Terminal or PPSB refuses to deepen the channel, as required under the agreement, the federal government may terminate their contract.

Lim said Penang state secretary Farizan Darus had been instructed to remind the stakeholders of the terms of the concession agreement.

“We have expected them to do this over the past three years, but yet they have not done anything.

“The costs might have ballooned to more than RM353 million as it was an earlier estimate,” Lim said.

On the Penang Port Commission’s “no go” to rehabilitate the failed Tanjung City Marina, Lim said the federal government ought to look into the matter seriously.

Lim said commission chairman Tan Teik Cheng, who is Penang MCA chief, ought to seek accountability on how the project had failed and how it could be revived.

Lim said Tan ought to push to have the marina restored as a whopping RM43 million had been spent to develop it.

“Why is there no action against those who had built it in the first place?” Lim asked.

The marina was built in 2005 but was considered a failure after all of its pontoons and berths became submerged in the water.

Lack of a good breakwater (barrier to break the force of waves) and design faults were blamed for the failure.