Penang reps spar over federal funds for cable car

Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin and Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi.

GEORGE TOWN: Two Penang assemblymen today locked horns over federal funds for the state’s cable car, two days after Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced Putrajaya’s decision to withdraw RM100 million allocated for the project in Budget 2020.

Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin said the money initially set aside for the project could be used for other high-priority projects such as skills training for those who had lost their jobs and for the improvement of roads in the state.

In a statement, he urged the Penang government to submit such proposals to the finance ministry.

“The Penang government has to accept the fact that while the state and country face many challenges post-Covid-19, development projects must now focus on adding value for the people in the state.

“Proposed projects must demonstrate a significant impact on the well-being of the people and the economy.”

However, DAP’s Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi said the cable car project was meant to be a game-changer for Penang’s tourism industry, and to maintain the state’s competitive edge in the regional tourism market.

Although he agreed that the funds could be used for other projects, he said it was important to explain why the allocation had been withdrawn.

During its time in the opposition, he said, Penang had been overlooked in terms of federal funds and was now concerned that history would repeat itself.

“Given the cancellation of funds to develop Penang Hill, it is the worry of Penangites that we will return to a dark time where the federal government abandoned the state, he said in a statement.