BUTTERWORTH: The Transport Ministry has agreed in principle to the state government's proposal to take over the Penang ferry operations.
Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said he would have to look at the proposal before deciding on the next move.
He said the ministry received a letter from the state government last month, proposing a takeover of the ferry services.
"I welcome and support their initiative, but they must be responsible and absorb everything as a package, and not only talk about licences for new ferries or taking in only the non-management staff.
"We are more than willing to co-operate with them for the benefit of the people," he told reporters after offering prayers at the Seberang Jaya Buddhist Association in Jalan Todak to mark Wesak Day yesterday.
It was earlier reported that the Penang Port Commission (PPC) - a statutory body under the ministry - was willing to hand over the ferry operations to the state government on condition that the state took in its 236 workers.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had said that the state was willing to absorb only the non-management staff should it take over the ferry operations.
Earlier, in Banting, Selangor, Liow, who attended Wesak Day prayers at Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple, said Malaysians had a responsibility to prevent extremism and promote moderation in their quest for a peaceful and harmonious country.
"We are concerned about the way the country is moving with tolerance levels going down," said the MCA president.
Liow said insensitivity in words and actions had been creating a lot of tension in society.
"We hope that through the propagation of good values and teachings of all religions, we can promote harmony in society," he said.
This, he added, was in line with the 2015 Wesak Day theme - Harmony and Co-operation.