The Transport Ministry of Malaysia has instructed Prasarana Malaysian Berhad to upgrade Penang ferries as well as introduce passenger catamarans for speedy service connecting the mainland and the island.
According to Transport Minister Anthony Loke, his ministry had instructed Prasarana to implement the upgrade plans for the ferry services beginning from 2020. He said that he had mentioned in Parliament previously that the government had allocated RM90M for the upgrading of Penang ferry services, currently under Rapid Ferry.
Under the upgrading plans, the existing ferries are due to be converted and maintained into tourist ferries. Loke said that maybe one or two ferries would continue to be used to ferry vehicles while catamarans will be ferrying travellers across the channel.
Currently, there are 6 ferries plying daily the Butterworth-George Town route.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow welcomed the proposal of the ministry to turn the ferries into tourist ferries. He said that Penang used to have water tours via small boats that take travellers around to sites like Pulau Jerejak in the 1980s.