New ferries to replace ageing fleet in Penang, says Wee

The Penang ferry service was to be shut down for three months but pleas by the state saw the plan being deferred by the federal government.

GEORGE TOWN: Penang will get a new fleet of ferries to replace the existing ageing vessels that are prone to breakdown, Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said today.

He added that the Penang ferry service would also undergo overall improvements in stages.

“In the meantime, the ferry service will continue to operate and the earlier planned purchase of new ferries by the previous PH administration will proceed.

“This is because the existing fleet is 47 years old and costs a lot to repair,” Wee said in a statement posted on Facebook today.

This comes after a major breakdown involving a day-long total suspension of the ferry service recently due to engine fault.

Later, the Penang government revealed that the ministry had planned to suspend the ferry service for three months from Sept 1, but deferred it due to pleas from the state.

Wee Ka Siong

Meanwhile, Wee expressed his appreciation to the Penang government for understanding the delay to the Penang International Airport expansion project due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said in the meantime the state government had assured him they would “not put behind” the National Airports Strategic Plan (NASP) study being conducted on 42 existing airports in the country.

Recently, the Penang government had objected against its airport being included in the study, as the plans for it had been done and expansion was about to begin. They were responding to the federal government’s announcement that all airport expansions and related matters would be put on hold pending the NASP study.

Earlier this morning, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and a Penang government delegation called on Wee and his deputy Hasbi Habibollah and transport ministry officials in Kuala Lumpur.