GEORGE TOWN, Jan 14 ― Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) will be conducting maintenance works on its funicular trains and both the upper and lower stations during the movement control order (MCO).
PHC General Manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng said the funicular train service is now closed to visitors and hikers during the MCO, but open to hill residents and workers.
“The trains will make seven trips a day now to cater to residents and workers and the last train trip is at 6.30pm,” he said.
The Astaka on the hilltop is currently closed but Cheok said the police station and a small community clinic on the hilltop are open so they will need to use the train to get to work every day.
He said there would be breaks between each trip so the maintenance team could use the time for upkeep and minor maintenance works on the funicular trains and the track.
He added that ongoing projects on the hill such as hill slope maintenance works will continue as scheduled.
“We can’t stop these projects, it has to continue according to schedule,” he said.
PHC also took precautionary measures and applied for the Fire and Rescue Department to conduct sanitisation exercise at the PHC office, on the lower and upper station and on the trains.
Cheok said Penang Hill saw thousands of visitors especially during holiday weekends. The MCO is a good time to fully sanitise the stations and trains.
“Since we are closed to the public, it is a good time to conduct full sanitisation of the public areas and our office,” he said.
He added that PHC staff do regularly sanitise frequent touch points at the hill resort such as railings and seatings but this exercise will cover all areas.
He said so far, PHC did not receive any reports of positive Covid-19 cases linked to Penang Hill but they are conducting the sanitisation as a preventive measure.
“We have always been careful. Since last year, we have sent eight of our staff to be swabbed at our own expense,” he said.
He said any staff who had attended events involving large groups and had symptoms will be advised to go for swabbing and to self quarantine.
“Even I have been swabbed three times, not because I was directly exposed, but sometimes I attended events and there were suspected cases so I went to test just to be sure,” he said.
This morning, a team of about 15 Fire and Rescue Department officers conducted a briefing session and sanitisation exercise at the Penang Hill upper and lower stations, PHC office and the funicular trains.
Its assistant enforcement chief Faris Mansur said they often receive requests from government agencies to conduct sanitisation exercises.
“We don’t only sanitise, we do it as an educational exercise too because we will brief them on the proper ways to conduct sanitisation so that they can conduct it on their own after this,” he said.
He said PHC had applied for the sanitisation exercise to be held about three weeks ago.
“Our advice to all organisations is to do their own sanitisation exercise on their own, don’t wait for us,” he said.