PONTIAN: After a two-month hiatus the Kukup International Ferry Terminal here is back in operation.
Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal, who welcomed the first batch of ferry passengers from Tanjung Balai, Indonesia, said the reopening would bring the place “back to life”.
He said Indonesia gave its clearance to allow Malaysian ferries to anchor at Tanjung Balai at about 5.50pm on Wednesday.
“There have been several delays for the opening but we are glad that the ferry terminal is able to resume operations fully today.
“The terminal will be managed by the state government, under the Public Transport Corporation for the time being until we get a permanent concession company, ” he told reporters at the ferry terminal yesterday.
Dr Sahruddin said the terminal would be able to run about five to 10 trips on a daily basis with the capacity of carrying some 150 passengers each trip.
The ferry terminal here was shut down since Sept 1 after the state government terminated the agreement with the previous concession company.
Earlier, it was reported that the reopening of the ferry terminal, which was initially scheduled on Wednesday, had been postponed.
Dr Sahruddin said the delay was because the state government had yet to receive clearance from the Indonesian government to anchor at Tanjung Balai.
“The previous company operating the ferry terminal received negative feedback and also had unpaid loans owed to the state government.“Indonesia wants to ensure that the new management is not related to the previous concession company, ” he said.
Among the first few passengers boarding the ferry from Tanjung Balai was Rozali Ibrahim, 50, who had been working in Mersing as a contractor for over 10 years.
“I prefer taking the ferry as it is nearer for me and I get to visit some of my friends and families, who are living in Kukup.
“I hope that the new management will be able to run it better than before, ” he said, adding that he uses the ferry service at least three times in a year.