Exco man: Funds for flood mitigation needed urgently

BY CRYSTAL CHIAM SHIYING

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THE subsequent phase of the Sungai Pinang basin flood mitigation project on Penang island must begin this year, said Town and Country Planning Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo.

It has been postponed for over five years on account of riverside squatters and fund shortages.

Stressing that it is critical to start the next phase immediately, Jagdeep urged the Federal Government to expedite the disbursement of the RM150mil fund it had announced earlier.

“The project needs RM600mil from the Federal Government, out of which RM300mil goes into the widening and deepening of all the rivers in the basin while the balance goes into improving the water quality.

“Penang urgently needs that RM150mil. The squatters have been relocated and I hope the Federal Government will walk its talk quickly,” he said on Sunday while visiting the Lorong Kulit flea market beside Sungai Pinang.

He expressed worry about the status of the disbursement and project execution.

He also proposed the building of a barrage across the river to prevent floods during high tides and heavy rain.

Last November, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar announced in Dewan Rakyat that RM150mil would be allocated for flood mitigation in Penang although the state had asked for RM350mil.

Penang Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said the allocation was divided into two components.

The first tranche of RM25mil is for deepening and beautifying of the rivers. The second, costing RM125mil, covers flood mitigation work over the 3.2km stretch of Sungai Pinang and its tributaries.

 

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