SOCIAL media has been flooded with images of Penang’s new ferry which is now berthed at a shipyard in Haiphong, Vietnam. When people saw the “Teluk Bahang” engraved on the side of the ferry, they were intrigued.
While many were excited by the vessel’s impending introduction, others were concerned about the fate of the old ferries and hoped they would be allowed to return to service.
“The vessel, the first of four commissioned, was scheduled for delivery between June and August. It will undergo tests on the water in Vietnam before (being sent to) Penang where it will be tested again before starting service. The rest of the vessels will arrive in stages,” said Penang Port Sdn Bhd spokesman.
Due to their high maintenance costs, the historic double-decker ferries that could transport both people and cars were retired in 2021.
Meanwhile, former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng has expressed hope that the Penang Port Commission (PPC) will readily implement any decision made by the federal government pertaining to the state’s iconic ferries.
The Bagan MP has also expressed hope that the Penang Port Commission (PPC) will quickly implement any federal government decision concerning the state’s iconic ferries.
According to Bernama, Lim have raised the issue of the ferry service which was abolished in 2020 on two occasions with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim since last month.
“We had constructive conversations on the issue. I voiced my hope that the PPC would be ready to implement any decision taken by the unity government,” shared the DAP chairman. “I hope they (PPC) understand that the government has changed, and that the approach and priority regarding the old ferry issue have also changed.”
However, he did not clarify whether the iconic ferry service will return under the unity government administration.
For over 126 years, a ferry service has linked the Penang island and Butterworth on the mainland. After five decades, the iconic double-decker vehicular-cum-passenger ferries were replaced with a passenger speedboat ferry service in 2020.
The older ferries are currently being used for bicycles and motorcycles. — March 17, 2023