BUKIT MERTAJAM, Dec 4 – The federal government is studying the expenditure involved in carrying out the 13 flood mitigation projects (RTB) in Penang. Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said once the cost had been refined, the plan would be handed over to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for a decision on the implementation according to priority.
“The federal government has allocated one billion ringgit to implement the flood mitigation projects in Penang and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) at the Prime Minister’s Department has called the agencies responsible in handling the floods in Penang recently to study the costs and the 13 RTB projects according to priority.
“They (federal government) will not implement all at one go and will choose the ones most critical first. We are doing this in the interest of the people,” he told reporters after a disaster relief programme, “Bersamamu Utaraku” here today. Also present was Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) chief executive Datuk Redza Rafiq.
Zainal Abidin, who is also Penang Umno Liaison chairman, said he hoped the state government could abolish the temporary occupation licence (TOL) for state-owned land affected by the flood mitigation project. “Many riverside lands in Penang received TOL status decades ago so the federal government had to pay high compensation to the landowners if they wanted to implement the RTB there.
“We hope the state government would play their role to terminate the TOL, and for the operators to move to other locations so we do not have to pay high compensation,” he said. Meanwhile, he said 1,000 houses in six flood-affected parliamentary areas would be rehabilitated under the ‘Bersama Utaraku’ programme of the EPU in collaboration with NCIA and the Malaysia Northern Region Construction Academy.
He said for a start, the parliamentary constituencies involved in the project were Permatang Pauh, Tasek Gelugor and Kepala Batas in Penang as well as Kulim, Padang Serai and Bandar Baharu in Kedah. “The project to rehabilitate the homes of flood victims began on Nov 24 and some have been completed. In Permatang Pauh, 150 houses were selected for minor repairs such as the roof, doors, walls, and floors, at a cost of between RM1,000 and RM2, 000 each,” he said. — Bernama