GEORGETOWN, Feb 8 – This is a beautiful and wonderful morning indeed. We are all standing at about 750 meters above sea level, breathing in the cool fresh air of Penang Hill, the most important icon of tourism in Penang as well as having a magnificent view of George Town and Seberang Perai.
CM Lim was happy to be with all of you as gather for the official opening of the Viewing Deck. CM Lim would like to congratulate the Penang Hill Corporation and the organising committee for their hard work in organising this meaningful event. He has been informed that The Viewing Deck where we are standing now consists of three tiers and a garden.
It is part of Phase 2 of the upgrading project at the Upper station. Construction work on Phase 2 started in February 2014. The other parts like the new holding area where you are standing right now, slope stabilisation just next to us and the upgrading of the walkway below have also been completed.
This final part, the 3rd parcel, which consists of the lift, the museum gallery and a cafe is currently under construction as you can see right before your eyes and is expected to be completed by the end of next month. The construction cost of Phase 2 is RM 9.05 million.
Phase 1 is the retractable roof at the lower station which you saw as you were coming in just now and elevated walkway leading to the astaka (food court). Phase 1 was constructed in 2013 at cost of RM 3.62 million. The next phase will be Phase 3. Construction work on Phase 3, at the right wing of the lower station, is expected to start this year at the estimates cost of RM 6.5 million.
When completed the whole lower station will have a new face lift as you can see in the exhibition behind you. It will house addition facilities like a science tech cafe, a children’s playground, a convenience stall, an ATM outlet, money changer, a souvenir stall and rentable space for food and drink outlets. All these are planned with customer convenience in mind.
3 week ago. on 19th January, CM Lim officiated the newly completed neighbouring multi-storey car-park which cost RM 11.5 million. The new Penang Hill Corporation will be located on the top-most floor of the multi-storey building. All these facilities are purposely planned and built to cater for the increasing number of tourists that come up to Penang Hill.
From PHC statistics, tourists arrivals have increased steadily from 600,00 in 2011 to 1.2 million in 2012, 1.23 million in 2013. Last year the figure exceeded the 1.36 million mark. This year the figure is expected to reach 1.45 million mark. There are few more projects in the pipeline to provide new attractions to draw more tourists to Penang Hill so that they can enjoy and spend more money here.
Nonetheless, it will be a balanced development because much of the ecosystem, the natural surroundings, the fauna and flora will be preserved, bearing in mind that the tourists come to enjoy the natural heritage, the cool fresh air of Penang Hill. Our vision is to make Penang Hill the hill resort of choice in Malaysia (and South-East Asia even). It is now the pleasure to declare this Viewing Deck officially opened and to name the bridge “The SkyWalk”.