Sungai Pinang Flood Mitigation Project responsibility of federal govt, not state

GEORGE TOWN: A senior Penang government member has hit back at critics who called on the state to take over and continue the Sungai Pinang Phase Three Flood Mitigation Project.

Penang Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng said the flood mitigation project was a federal government program and the state was not in a position to intervene.

He said the call for the state to resume the flood mitigation project is an attempt to let the federal government off the hook in continuing with the scheme.

"This is one-sided and not fair to the state," he said in a statement today.

The calls came after flash floods hit several areas in the state with knee-high water last Saturday following heavy rain.

Critics blamed over-development for the cause of floods which severely affected Jalan Masjid Negeri and Air Itam.

Lim also hit at those who criticised saying the state was unwilling to spend the money for the RM350 million flood mitigation project but could pay RM305 million for a feasibility study for the proposed undersea tunnel and three pair roads.

He said the feasibility study had nothing to do with flood mitigation and that likening the two projects was akin to equating apples to oranges and expressed his hope that the Sungai Pinang project can be quickly carried out.

In a flood-related issue, Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) CEO Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said the Air Itam Dam remained close to recreational activities pending checks on safety.

He said the heavy rain on Saturday resulted in a landslide at the road leading up to the dam but the slope seemed unstable despite the debris being cleared as boulders were visible on the exposed soil.

He said PBAPP is to seek the opinion of Datuk Gue See Sew, a geotechnical consultant to the state, to inspect and assess the site.

"Based on his expert opinion, PBAPP will make a decision on whether to reopen the road or not," he said in a statement adding that an announcement will be made.