GEORGE TOWN: Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (pic) has sought to calm fears that the proposed cable car service for Penang Hill will lead to overcrowding at the popular tourist site.
He said that although the project was expected to bring more people to the hill, the number of visitors could be spread out systemically.
“It’s still too early to go into details of the cable car service as we need to first wait for the pre-feasibility studies undertaken by the Penang Hill Corporation, ” Chow said.
“There can always be a mechanism to control the crowd, for instance, by giving incentives to those taking the cable car after 6pm.
“We can’t determine anything without a study as the entire viability of the project will also have to be first looked into, ” he said.
During the Budget 2020 announcement on Oct 11, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said that RM100mil would be allocated for the cable car project on Penang Hill as part of the country’s tourism development budget.
However, civil societies and non-governmental groups had since spoken out against the project, saying that they would relaunch the “Save Penang Hill” campaign should the state go ahead with the plan.
They claimed that the hill was an environmentally sensitive area and a cable car service would mean that loads of people could be brought up there.
The groups also claimed that the Special Area Plan (SAP) for Penang Hill had been clear about the carrying capacity, where even after full development, the maximum number of people allowed on the hill was 4,800.
Chow also shot down the idea of proposing a redelineation for the Paya Terubong seat in the state assembly meeting next month.
“We proposed to the Election Commission during its last redelineation exercise to have a more proportionate voter base but this was not done.
“We will wait for the next exercise. Now, we have no plans to request this through a motion in the state assembly, ” he added.
On Tuesday, EC chairman Azhar Harun had said that the state assemblies could propose to increase the number of state seats if they chose to.
The Paya Terubong state seat, which has 48,741 voters – the biggest in the state – was won by DAP in the last general election.