Penang port: They want us to take the losses while they keep the profits


As usual, in any impending privatisation exercise, they only want the profitable bits, while the loss-making or difficult bits remain for the public to bear.

In the case of Penang port, Penang Port Sdn Bhd wants to surrender the ferry services and other loss-making bits while keeping the potentially lucrative port.

PPSB only wants to hand over the ferries to the federal government (see this Insider report) but it wants to keep the port.

By right, both the port and the ferries should fall under the state government. Yes, the ferries can be made to run more efficiently, but as a form of public transport, the goal should not be to maximise profit but to promote a sustainable transport mode.

We can do without the yacht marina, which would be a waste of public funds. Let the marina be a private initiative if it is so feasible.

And the port should come under the state government. As for the dredging, the Penang state government should ask serious questions about the RM355m price tag rather than just accepting it unquestioningly. Whose company is the real beneficiary of the dredging work? And how do we verify the volume that the company claims it will dredge? Federal government funds are also our money, and so any large payment for dredging must be independently audited.

The Chief Minister said today:

The Penang State Government Is Willing To Help Out Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) From Sustaining Yearly Losses Of More Than RM18 Million By Taking Over Tanjung City Marina, Swettenham Pier And The Ferry Services.

The Penang state government is willing to help out Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) from sustaining yearly losses of more than RM18 Million by taking over Tanjung City Marina, Swettenham Pier and the ferry services. PPSB managing director Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar had confirmed that the Transport Ministry and Penang Port Commission(PPC), and not PPSB, was to blame for the failed RM43 million Tanjung City marina project, which fell into disrepair following a storm in 2009.

Ahmad said the failed marina was due to bad design and PPSB had in 2006 told PPC that the design was faulty in 2006. Clearly the Transport Ministry and PPC must bear full responsibility for mishandling the design, construction as well as failing to maintain the Tanjung city marina from 2006 until now when the entire marina has sunk to the bottom of the sea.

All those involved in the PPC and Transport Ministry from this period 2006-2012 should respond to Ahmad’s expose that the design fault in the Tanjung City Marina, was doomed to fail right from the very beginning. A full explanation must be given on why the PPC and Transport Ministry wasted RM43 million in public funds to implement a doomed to fail project and whether there are any more of doomed to fail projects.

The next public concern is whether the important Swettenham Pier is also one of those projects as it serves a critical link in serving cruise ships that cater to growing number of foreign tourists. The PPC and Transport Ministry’s poor management has caused a complete loss of public confidence. The state government is willing to take over and is confident of turning around the Swettenham Pier, Tanjung City Marina and the ferry services. Even the ferry services can be well run by engaging professionals with expertise as was done in the past.

The state government would also press the Federal government to fulfil its obligations as operator of Penang Port by immediately undertaking the RM355 million project of deepening of the north channel from 11 meters to 15 meters. Deepening the channel is necessary to handle bigger container ships to ensure sustainable revenue growth, which was only RM329 million last year and a slight increase this year, which is low for a significant port like Penang serving one of the most dynamic manufacturing clusters in the world.


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  1. tunglang

    read somewhere that you are courted by MCA Penang to set up the Penang street Food Museum. Is it true?

    is this museum a good bit that MCA wants in Penang to lure voters?

    • Penang Street Food Museum was my pet project to bring about recognition of Penang Ori-Maestros (food sifus from diverse Asian cultures) who for generations have contributed to the state tourism potentials since the late 70s.
      Thanks to Anil’s blog, the flurry of heated & humorous discussions in 2011 has rekindled my long time passion for Penang food tourism. Still, my sincere apology for my overt-passionate verbosity for all things street hawker food at the expense of slippery-cleanliness food courts, Kimmy Garish, Soul Garden & SingLand hawker wannabes.

      In fact, food tourism was proposed in January, 1995 to PDC’s Tourism in my previous agency pitching proposal for Penang MICE marketing. But, no thanks to this Mat Salleh GM of Mutiara Beach Resort, it seemed not well received, which in my personal opinion could be due to his cocooned gastronomy experience of his own limited taste buds, short-sightedness & lack of authentic street hawker cuisine experience at heritage street level. If one don’t understand the emotional-desire (including the salivating) factor of Tham Chiak Kui brand strategy, how to brand Penang? This was but one ‘deadly’ fallacy of entrusting a strategic state tourism decision-making to an inexperienced (of Penang’s competitive edge) foreigner sans heavenly street hawker food experience.

      At this juncture, I can only realized this museum idea in my iMac privacy of digital 64-bit & 300 pixels rendition.
      I will let discerning Penangites decide if this Street Food Museum is any good idea sans politics or Ostrich soup.

      Time for a salivating a humble bowl of heavenly Indian Gandum (Rm1.00) from Farlim.

      • Kris, I beg to differ from what you suspected ‘cheaply’.

        Can’t blame you b’cos you have no intimate idea of how much time & effort was put into this street food museum proposal:
        the research, the strategic branding & planning & the recce of 3 places,
        the initial brief spoken about with Danny Law,
        brief sent to State Museum (Macalister Road),
        brief proposed to MPPP,
        a more thorough proposal shown to George Town World Heritage Incorporated & Think City.

        Whoever shares my initiative is welcomed investor of my proposal, which is not just for one-sided political leaning entities. This street food museum could be a private initiative or joint state-private venture, not just the domain of the state gomen. At this point, I have no idea who out there can invest in this project strategic & beneficial to the state food tourism. So I have to try harder.

        Btw, I am a businessman, not a political tripod cum tongkat-addict seeking easy-come favors. Hard work has brought me a sense of value.
        Whoever has the sincerity, foresight & creativity to want to build a street food museum should be respected for their proactiveness.

        This food museum is not & should not be a political carrot to be dangled, toyed & fool-played about with the feelings of Penangites, much less the pride & honor of our Penang Ori-Maestros.

        (I still have friends in Gerakan & MCA & MIC. Not in the childish habit of making overnight political enemies post 308. I could easily approach them if I wanted to. But I am a patient man).

        So what’s wrong with being an original creator of my own Penang street food museum in my digital domain? I can still sell this idea to Ipoh Municipal Council when the time is right.

  2. It may be a blessing in disguise. The state govt is willing to take over the loss-making ferry service, tanjung city marina and swettenham pier because they know it has the potential to make money and at the same time be used to promote tourism in Pg. Just because PPSB is losing money doesn’t mean it won’t do well after the state govt takes over. Right now it could be that mismanagement and inefficiency is creating the losses. MPSP was running a deficit budget every year and was close to being bankrupt but they managed to turn it around in just one year. They may do wonders for these three loss-making projects.


  4. (Street) Food for thought:
    Why not turn the Tanjung City Marina into a Street Food Museum?
    And turn part of Swettenham Pier into a Street Hawker Cuisine Paradise.

    Can be a private initiative museum to salivate hungry tourists landing on Penang Island from cruise ships.
    Plus a timeless slow tram ride or beca ride to innercity Ori-Maestro hot spots for a food binge of unforgettable gastronomical + heritage ambience experience in Little India, Carnarvon/Kimberley/Chulia Street enclaves & Penang Road-Macalister-Burmah Road axis.

    Previous recce-ed state-owned potential venues:
    Town Hall’s 1st floor
    State Museum @ Macalister Road

    It’s not the end of the world yet for Penang’s 1st Street Food Museum or Ori-Maestro Museum when many Tham Chiak Kuis are still coming here to makan-makan (eat) before they die on their own doomsday!

    It’s 1:19:99 am 22-12-2012. Where’s the apocalypse?
    Time for Kopi-O kau kau kau.

    • We would be happy if corruption, police brutality, lies and deceits, scandal that siphoned off the rakyat, cheating etc etc are wipe off not just in Malaysia but the world. How can one be happy if such things can still be condoned by the head of the govt here.

  5. Time to give the lucrative bits to the orang asli and the non lucrative bits to (those) who steal from their own pockets anyway eh.

  6. No need to say much when any project that involves MCA ministers, especially its adulterous President. Sai Hei. (Waste my breath only).

    … easy money and easy gain…

  7. So far,what has Chua Soi Lek as chairman of PPC done to look into this matter. Is it just to warm the seat and receiving his buta allowances. The Transport minister is also from MCA. Don’t tell me they can’t see the problem? Or are they trying to sabotage the state govt which is run by the opposition party?

  8. Yes, Barang Naik UMNO and their sycophants will always ensure that their cronies get the most profitable private and public entity.


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