The Ministry of Transport sees the new ferry service in Penang as having great potential as a new tourism product, by establishing a chartered ferry service as is being done in neighbouring Thailand.

Its Minister, Anthony Loke Siew Fook said that according to the current demand, the capacity of the ferry is more than enough, where only three ferries are needed for daily operations and another ferry can be used as a tourism product.

“The ferry operator, Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB), does have this plan, where they will rent the ferry to parties who are interested in holding a private event, company retreat or even if there is a travel agent who wants to bring a group of tourists.

“This effort requires the cooperation of all parties. The ministry, through the Penang Port Commission (PPC), took a flexible approach, and allowed the ferry to be used for tourism purposes, but the operator needs to ensure that the safety aspect of passengers is guaranteed,” he told reporters here today.

He said this after the launch of the new Penang ferry service by the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Penang, Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak. It was also attended by Chief Minister, Chow Kon Yeow.

Loke also welcomes if there are private parties interested in working with the government to revive the old ferries in the state to be used as tourism products.

He added that in the first week that the new ferry service was implemented last week, it recorded almost 50,000 two-way passengers.

“The transport industry plays an important role in supporting economic activities and people's mobility. This new ferry service is a real example of how we continue to renew and improve our transport infrastructure to meet current and future needs.

"This new ferry service will help bridge the physical gap between the island and Seberang Perai, but the government is committed to facilitating initiatives to promote economic growth and improve the well-being of the people in Penang, and throughout the country," he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency