Penang Hill still below 4,800-visitor limit, says exco

Opalyn Mok
State exco for Tourism Development, Arts, Culture and Heritage Yeoh Soon Hin speaks to the press in George Town August 2, 2019. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 7 — Visitors to Penang Hill have yet to exceed the limit of 4,800 people at once set under the Penang Hill Special Area Plan 2016, state exco Yeoh Soon Hin (DAP - Paya Terubong) said.

The tourism, arts, culture and heritage committee chairman said data collected by the Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) showed that visitor numbers peaked at 1,500.

“This showed that Penang Hill still has the capacity to attract more visitors and the infrastructure on the hill is still sufficient for an increase in visitors to the hill,” he said in his winding up speech at the legislative assembly today.

He was responding to questions by Ong Khan Lee (PKR - Kebun Bunga) on sustainable tourism on the hill resort.

On the proposed cable car project with a RM100 million allocation from the federal government, Yeoh said the state will ensure that the project was implemented properly and carefully.

“Currently, it is still in the pre-feasibility stage and bidders to conduct the pre-feasibility study were already shortlisted in October,” he said.

He said the consultant for the pre-feasibility study will be appointed soon and that the study will take about six months to complete.

The pre-feasibility study will look at the viability of the cable car before feasibility studies can be conducted on the whole project, he said.

To Opposition Leader Muhamad Yusoff Mohd Noor’s (BN - Sungai Dua) question on whether the RM100 million funds would benefit a private company instead of the people of Penang, he said Putrajaya has not announced in detail how the funds will be disbursed to the state.

Yeoh defended the cable car project as crucial to improve the number of visitors up the hill resort.

He said it will resolve long queues and waiting time at the funicular train station especially during school holidays and festivals.

“It will give visitors another option to go up the hill and it will be an iconic attraction for Penang,” he said.

He said it will increase the number of visitors to Penang Hill and this will also spur economic development in the area.

“As stated by Air Putih, the cable car will be an impetus for Penang Hill to be one of the top hill resorts in Malaysia,” he said, referring to Lim Guan Eng.

He said the allocation for the cable car project will also spur the tourism industry in Penang and Malaysia as a whole.

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