KUALA LUMPUR: The Transport Ministry is committed to ensuring that all modes of public transport system, including the Penang ferries, remains at a satisfactory level and is improved from time to time, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).
The Transport Minister revealed in the Dewan Rakyat that the operation costs for the Penang ferry service stood between RM20mil and RM25mil a year.
"In the current situation, which was decided by the previous Pakatan Harapan government, we need to change to catamaran (ferries).
"Due to the decision, we will need some time.
"The current federal government will bear the operation cost of RM2mil a month although it is high," he said in reply to Wong Hon Wai (PH-Bukit Bendera) during the Minister's Question Time on Thursday (Aug 27).
Wong had asked about the ministry's long-term plan to upgrade the Penang ferry service.
Dr Wee said that the ministry had identified the reason behind the suspension of the Penang ferry service recently.
"This is due to technical problems in one of the engines of the ferry, which is the Pulau Undan, which operates in Penang," he said.
"At the moment, the Penang ferry service only involves the Pulau Angsa ferry which operates from the Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda ferry terminal to Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Hamid for round trips, starting from 6am to midnight," he added.
He said to overcome the issue, RapidFerry will also provide free bus rides for pedestrians, with a total of five buses operating between 5.20am and 11pm.
The Transport Minister also said he would be meeting with the Penang Chief Minister on Aug 27 to discuss the issue to ensure that the ferry service in Penang continued to operate as it was one of the most important modes of transport in the state.
"I feel that a close relationship between the state and the Federal Government is important especially in terms of cooperation involving big projects," he said.
He gave his assurance that the ministry would consider seriously all of the state government's input and would also cooperate with them during the discussion.
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