It’s official, Penang’s iconic ferries will be replaced by speedboat from 1 Jan

Property News/ 24 December 2020 Leave a comment


Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong confirmed today that Penang would have to bid adieu to its old ferries, despite a promise made by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz in the Dewan Rakyat.

The ferries will make way for the “safer, faster and cheaper-to-maintain” water buses (to carry passengers) and lighters (to carry motorcycles), expected to arrive by mid-2022.

In a statement, Wee said that while many had expressed regret over the doing away of old ferries, passenger safety was paramount and hence a newer generation of ferries had to be put into service.

“It is undeniable that the service carries an intangible cultural and heritage value for many Malaysians who enjoy the trip.

“Several quarters have expressed regret with the decision although it is aimed at making the Penang ferry service safer, faster and less prone to unsustainable maintenance costs.

“Costs have been spiking at least once a month with the existing 47-year-old ferries (as repairs had to be done).

“It was a considered decision to modernise the ferry fleet. We want to avoid unwanted incidents and inconveniences that may occur.

“I have again explained to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow on the federal government’s plan to replace the existing ferries to optimise the safety, sustainability and security of the passenger ferry fleet.

“We want to ensure the service continues to be enjoyed by both locals and tourists,” Wee said.

Tengku Zafrul had said earlier that the ferry services would continue, with a total of RM30 million allocated by the government — to be released in two tranches in 2021 and 2022.

Recently, it was announced that port operator Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) would spend RM30 million on its end to upgrade ferry terminals on the island and mainland, and acquire three water buses and two motorcycle transporters. This would replace the current ferry service in mid-2022.

Cars will be barred from using the ferries from Jan 1, with one old ferry being used only for motorcycles. Until the new water buses and lighters arrive, passengers will be ferried using speedboat ferries, similar to the ones used in Langkawi.

In a separate statement, PPSB said pedestrians will not be charged any fee to use the speedboat ferries for two weeks, beginning Jan 1.

Currently, pedestrians pay RM1.20 for a two-way ride on the ferry.


Source: FreeMalaysiaToday.com


  1. A. Hameed
    December 25th, 2020 at 19:53 | #1

    What’s the record of safety incidents and accidents and casualties throughout the history of the Penang ferry service operations?

    WhAt is the list of comfort level dissatisfaction and complaints?

    WhAt is the quantum of expenditure per year for maintenance and upkeep?

    The minister seems to be giving pulling “wool over our eyes” reasons.

    WhAt will become of the vacated sea-front land?

  2. BangGalaBaby
    December 26th, 2020 at 00:16 | #2

    @A. Hameed
    My friend, I think there’s no wool over your eyes lah, it’s pretty straight forward. The ferry is getting very old, don’t wait until it sinks and kills 50 people then only change. Change it before someone dies.

    As for the comfort level, it’s not hard to imagine. You remember the old Lim Seng Seng buses? Or The Yellow Bus? No aircond, only thick black exhaust, compared to the all new RapidPenang airconditioned buses now? Can imagine? If you don’t take the ferry as a daily mode of transport, then you wouldn’t know the condition. I believe those who do will be very very happy with the new airconditioned speedboats.

    Having said that, nothing is stopping our state gov from asking it’s developer friends to preserve the “iconic ferry”. It can surely be re-furbished, re-commercialized and re-positioned as a different product category for tourist, and for those who take it for old times sake. Of course, the fare will be also different “grade” already lah.

    So what’s the big fuss? Simple issue, plenty of easy solutions. All the state needs to do is to use their brains and stop being lazy! *sigh*

  3. Gemini
    December 28th, 2020 at 11:15 | #3

    I disagree, old does not mean unreliable. Please prove with facts and data and don’t simply quote “sinks and kill 50 people” unless you can show data that the new speedboats are unsinkable.

    The ferry trip duration about 20 to 30mins and no air condition needed as we have the cold sea breeze wind. How much time the new speedboats can save for the travel duration when everyone needs to queue up to enter and exit the tiny door of the speedboat comparing to the old ferry which had a huge entrance/exit door to cater for mass people movement.

    Why fix what ain’t broke. Use the money to improve the terminal such as the waiting area with air conditioning and lift for OKU. I am not against development and improvement but share the facts and data to convince the people.

  4. BangGalaBaby
    December 29th, 2020 at 08:21 | #4

    Hahaha…..if I can prove with facts and data that the ferry actually sank and killed 50 people, then it would be very sad already. Luckily I can’t.

    If you say you’re not against development and improvement, then I really don’t know what to say already. God bless you.

  5. Gemini
    December 31st, 2020 at 08:42 | #5

    So next time when you want to comments, pls talk with facts and don’t simply quote with misleading comments. Please go and google or watch The Star video(link for you) on how people get on board the speed boat thru that tiny door. God bless you too.


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