GEORGE TOWN: If all goes according to plan, Penang will join the likes of Queenstown (New Zealand), Hong Kong and Nha Trang (Vietnam) when a cable car linking the island and mainland is completed by 2018. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said discussions with Penang Sentral Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB), are in the final stages. He said his administration welcomed the proposal as he felt a cable car system could enhance the public transport system and double up as a tourist attraction. He said cable car system project linked Gat Lebuh Noordin on the island to Penang Sentral, the eponymous integrated transportation hub, in Butterworth on the mainland. He said the 3km journey across the Penang Channel will take about 15 minutes and could carry 1,000 passengers per hour. "This will take about three years, if all goes according to plan, this should be done by 2018," he said in a press conference today together with Penang Sentral representative Shireen Mohd Iqbal. On whether the cable car may affect Penang Port operations and the ferry service, Shireen said the project was not to disrupt the two services. "This is to offer convenience to passengers to commute between the island and the mainland," she added but declined to reveal the cost as further study on the matter is still required. Lim also stressed all stakeholders and relevant authorities would be consulted adding that state land would be made available.