Penang port a strategic public asset


It is still not clear who will take over Penang port despite an earlier media report suggesting a decision had already been made.

Two local parties and two foreign groups are reported to be interested the country’s third largest port after Port Klang (Northport and Westports) and Port of Tanjung Pelepas in Johor.

Then there’s the proposal by the Penang state government.

The following parties are believed to have expressed interest in Penang port, according to The Edge (7 March 2011):

  • Penang state government (reportedly made proposal to federal government)
  • Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary
  • Oriental Pearl Harbour Sdn Bhd (consortium led by Siew Ka Wei)
  • DP World (Dubai World’s port operations arm)
  • “consortium made up of an India-based company and the Pahang royalty” (“details of parties and proposals are scarce”)

The decision will be made by the Public-Private Partnership Unit (UKAS), which is supposed to be handling the port privatisation.

At present, Penang port is operated by Penang Port Sdn Bhd, which comes under the Ministry of Finance.

What exactly is the rationale for privatising this profitable port?

The port should remain in local public hands, under the Penang state government. If at all foreign expertise is needed, it can always be hired. The port is a strategic asset and policies and pricing should be aimed at facilitating and promoting local business while complementing – not competing with – other local ports.

What do you think?

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23 Mar 2011 4.10pm

My bet is Syed Mokthar as he has (powerful people) behind him.

22 Mar 2011 8.57pm

My bet that if somebody from BN cronies took over Penang Port, you all can say “Good Bye” to the iconic ferries for good. See what happened to the antiquated but usable cable puller machine of Penang Hill Railway in the name of upgrading. The last time they sold one ferry to (a) Restaurant which sent it to Johor.

Bit by bit, Penang’s priceless heritage will be decimated by irresponsible parties if Penangites do not stand up to these mindless takeovers of anything Penang.

We love Penang originals, not destructive takeover.

22 Mar 2011 5.44pm

Previously if I am not mistaken, the Penang port was taken over a white hair … and he make a mess out of it. •Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary is another UMNO crony… Just like Mahathir son who make ton of money …

Let the port go back to its own people, the Penang State Government

22 Mar 2011 5.24pm

I bet that the fed gomen will not consider Pg State government’s proposal

Penang Boy
Penang Boy
22 Mar 2011 3.43pm

past 4 days, i was at my home town, the one thing which hurts me a lot was, i did not see any ships around at the famous Penang port. Not even one that passes by. I feel there is something very wrong with our economy now. My eyes were with full of tears, to see my home, which turns out be as GHOST PORT. There was once almost about 50 ships will be docked daily. When i left, I cried and i still do.

22 Mar 2011 4.32pm
Reply to  Penang Boy

There are 2 cruise ships in Penang (Swettenham Pier) everyday One is Libra, the other I can’t remember. Prior to this Pisces was around for a while. No more cargo ships dock on the island. The rest of the cargo ships would be on the mainland.

22 Mar 2011 3.18pm

My good guess,… Syed Mokhtar will get to run the port. The state govrn ? …nah

22 Mar 2011 3.10pm

Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary’s group took over the Senai Airport and did invest some money to upgrade the airport. However, Senai airport failed miserably. Air Asia did use Senai Airport as the Southern Hub after LCCT, KK, Kuching. However it is no more an Air Asia hub. Penang has become the 2nd Air Asia hub after LCCT in West Malaysia. If PR can manage Penang so effectively why not allow the state to takeover Penang Port? At least it will generate good income to develop the overall transportation infrastructure for the state. At the same time revive the ferry services and… Read more »