GEORGE TOWN, Nov 6 — The new Penang Hill funicular train will be handed over to be managed by the DAP state government once it is ready by the end of the year.
Minister of Tourism Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the RM68.8 million Tourism Ministry project to upgrade the train service is due for completion by the end of the year.
“Upon the completion of the project, we will hand over the project to the state government through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU),” she told reporters after a soft-launch ceremony to unveil the service’s new Swiss-made coaches here today.
“It should be a self-sustainable project once it is completed and we hope that the state government will be able to take full responsibility on all the post-project maintenance, services and financing,” Ng (picture) added.
On February 22, the 87-year-old funicular train service ceased operations to make way for the upgrading project by the ministry.
The new air-conditioned coaches, which can carry 50 people each, will travel non-stop between the foot of the hill and the station at the summit of Penang Hill under the upgraded system, unlike the old system where passengers had to change trains at a middle station.
Meanwhile, Ng also urged the state government to be more active and work closely with the federal government in developing the tourism sector as the state’s tourist arrivals for last year lagged behind Malacca.
She said the state had great potential to become one of the top tourist destinations as there were 191 international flights weekly.
“The state government should not rely too much on the federal government to provide more allocations to the state as RM143.4 million was allocated under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
She added that Penang only recorded a total of 5.5 million tourist arrivals in 2009 compared with Malacca which had 8.9 million. — Bernama