Proposed cable car project in Penang Hill under evaluation, says Zairil

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government is currently in the process of evaluating and finalising the proposals they received for the proposed cable car project on Penang Hill.

Penang Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the state government called for a request for proposal (RFP) on Jan 13 last year, which ended on Nov 30 last year.

“We are now in the process of evaluating and finalising the proposals received.

“We expect to announce an official offer to the successful bidder before the end of this year,” he said when responding to questions posed by Lim Guan Eng (PH-Air Putih) at the state legislative assembly sitting on Wednesday (June 1).

Lim had asked Zairil if there was an estimated cost for the project, the liabilities attached, the viability of the project for a private company to build and operate and how the private company will gain returns from the project.

Zairil said the state will consider various options such as awarding a concession to the successful bidder.

“We welcome any proposed business models and the bidder is allowed to propose any value-added features to the project.

“The state needs to ensure that the project is competitive as it could be one of the main tourist attractions for the state.

“As this is a Build-Finance-Operate-Transfer (BFOT) project through RFP, all construction and operations costs will be fully borne by the successful bidder,” he said.

In response to Lim’s written question about the status of the cable car project, including the cost and if the Federal Government was funding the project, Zairil stressed that the state did not receive any allocation from the federal government for the project.

“The state government will continue with its proposed cable car project for Penang Hill despite the cancellation of a RM100mil allocation by the federal government.

“The state government has decided to go ahead with the project by calling for the RFP after the federal government announced its decision to withdraw the allocation.

“The RFP is to partner with the private sector to implement it by way of joint venture or BFOT,” he said.

Zairil thanked Lim for approving the RM100mil allocation when the latter was the finance minister but said that after the change in federal government, the allocation was cancelled.