SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE RE-OPENING OF PENANG HILL
30 December, 2017
On behalf of the Penang Hill Corporation (PHC), I would like to thank you very much for your presence here this morning to join us for this special event to commemorate the re-opening of Penang Hill to all Penangites and visitors from across the country and abroad.
We thank you for your patience, understanding and kind words of support which have truly inspired the PHC Team to strive beyond expectations to ensure that the train can be back in operation within the shortest possible time.
The evening of November 4 was truly a nightmare for all of us here with the worst rainstorm in history with 40mph winds that even lifted the ferry inland and witnessed 1.5 months rain in only 15 hours. Penang Hill, being sited around 800 metres above sea level felt was even more drastically affected in the near typhoon-like aftermath.
Penang Hill suffered a record 194 landslides all over the Hill, including the funicular track and also the alternative route via the jeep track from the Botanic Gardens, it was completely cut-off.
Meanwhile, recovery work on the funicular and its track was equally challenging as it was similarly inaccessible to vehicles and machineries and recovery works had to be carried out practically by hand.
Although only one of the trains was slightly affected, the track suffered more extensive damages which necessitated the import of spare parts from abroad.
Clearly the worst affected areas from the worst rainstorm and floods in Penang history were undeveloped areas. Those areas with approved development had same form of slope protection as required by the local authorities. But undeveloped areas with little or no slope protection bore the brunt of Mother Nature with 194 landslides.
Unfortunately, Penang has to pay a heavy price to disprove the lie that development was the major cause of the worst rainstorm or floods in Penang's history. This was a natural disaster. In actual fact, it was undeveloped areas such as Penang Hill that suffered the worst. There has been no major developments in Penang Hill carried out and talk of development of Penang Hill including rumours of building casinos is baseless and irresponsible.
Considering the tremendous challenges which they faced, I would like to express my appreciation to the entire Penang Hill Corporation Team for their utmost dedication, commitment and the tremendous effort which they have put in to re-store not only the funicular service but also make the Hill accessible to all.
Of course, PHC would not have been able to succeed in the restoration and recovery process without the assistance of the numerous government agencies like JKR, MBPP, PBA, TNB, Telekom Malaysia, and Angkatan Tentera Malaysia, Penang Hill Residents Association, business operators on the hill, contractors, residents and numerous volunteers who have come forward. Thank you all for your valued contribution.
With the re-opening of the Hill and the resumption of train service today, visitors will be assured of a pleasant and memorable experience by joining the recently-launched guided Nature Walks by volunteer guides. We hope our guests will take the opportunity to discover more of the Hill and have a more enriching experience here.
We believe that next year we will be able to hit 1.7 million passengers next year – a new record! Come, and let us enjoy what Penang Hill has to offer again and again!