Heads must roll for the sinking ‘Pulau Pinang’

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is shocked and outraged when photographs of the nearly submerged iconic ‘Pulau Pinang’ ferry appeared in social media posted by Netizens on 5 June 2021.

If the news of the ferry had not appeared in social media, would the Penang Port authorities engage a contractor to pump out the water? Would there be an announcement that the ferry be turned into a museum? Most importantly, why was the hull of the ferry not repaired before sea water corroded it? Wouldn’t it be more expensive to repair the holes in the hull now and having to clean off the seawater from inside the ferry?

As what the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland said, “Off with their heads!” There is no excuse in this instance why the ferries cannot be maintained in good condition even if their engines cannot be repaired.

It is utterly shameful because it shows a total disregard of what the ferries meant to the Penang and it also shows a dereliction of duty on the part of the management and the personnel responsible for the vessels. Thus, those responsible should be made answerable to this debacle and the findings be made public. Those responsible should be sacked if there are elements of gross negligence, otherwise there is no public accountability.

It was reported that the ferries will be repurposed when the ferries were decommissioned; and then to see a ferry sinking shows that the Penang Port Commission may not have been forthright in the first place. Any business entity would have made sure that their assets were looked after. Besides caring for the interests of Penangites; PPC didn’t seem to care about its own assets.  Probably their plan was to scrap the ferries.

Having seen the pathetic condition of ‘Pulau Pinang’, we urge the authorities to reveal the detailed status of the other eight ferries: Pulau Labuan, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Talang Talang, Pulau Undan, Pulau Rimau, Pulau Angsa, Pulau Kapas, and Pulau Payar. We have to bear in mind that some of these ferries were just retired early this year.


Press Statement, 6 June 2021