Yarra E-Class tram in Melbourne, Australia.

The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is set to table a proposal, which could see the return of Penang’s tram service in 2017, under the Land Public Transport (PAD) Act 2010 during a Parliament sitting in October. Such a service was discontinued in Penang in 1936.

Such a move would align with the state government’s plan to revive said tram service as an alternative to the current options, which are not “in compliance with Unesco’s requirement in preserving George Town’s historical sites.” The state government applied for permits to operate the tram services over a year ago under Penang’s Master Transportation Plan but to no avail.

For such a service to be green-lighted, it was said that the federal government would have to introduce the proper legislation first. “For trams to be in service, it requires amendment to the relevant laws since trams share the same space on the roads with other vehicles,” said SPAD CEO, Mohd Nur Ismal Kamal, to theSun.

“On our part, we are proposing an amendment to the PAD Act to accommodate the request by the local councils,” he confirmed. “Unlike monorail, you can just walk in or get on the tram on the street level. It is low-floor, ideal and much easier to take the trams. It can transport many people for short distances such as in the central business district (CBD) or city centre.”

So far, so good, then, as all parties appear to be in support of introducing the tram service. In 2011, the Malacca government had proposed a similar service that would consist of a 40 km-long network, covering a total of 11 out of 14 tourist hotspots from the Ayer Keroh toll plaza to the Heritage Town of Malacca.