RM351m worth of flood mitigation projects to begin this year: Chow

GEORGE TOWN: A total of RM351 million worth of flood mitigation projects are set to begin this year according to Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow (pix).

He said RM150 million for nine projects was allocated by the Penang government for 2017 where most of the design was completed and tenders were expected to be called in June.

Chow said these will take about two years to complete and will be implemented in several locations including Padang Lalang, Jalan Juru, Bayan Baru, Sungai Tiram and Sungai Nipah and involves upgrading drainage systems, building pump houses and retention ponds.

He said RM51 million for 12 flood mitigation schemes were also in the works and in various stages of tender and completion.

Chow said these 12 projects were paid from a fund where money collected from developers as part of drainage contributions, at a rate of RM50,000 per 0.404ha, was pooled for such purposes.

He said the other RM150 million was from the federal government for the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project.

Chow said the federal government was in the process of appointing a contractor and work was expected to begin near the end of the year.

Chow refuted talk the Penang government was not serious about flood mitigation and described the work as a "top priority" for the state.

"We have RM351 million worth of flood mitigation projects in the pipeline," he said in a press conference today.

He was responding to criticism the state was slow to implement flood mitigation projects after severe flash floods inundated several areas in Penang on Saturday evening during heavy rain.

These areas included Bayan Baru and Relau while vehicles on several roads were stuck due to the high level of water.

On short term measures, Chow said the local Councils will be cleaning drains, upgrading pumps, clearing rubbish traps and removing stilt from drainage systems.

He also pointed out developers had to upgrade the drainage system within their projects as well as adhere to the Erosion and Sedimentation Management Plan in response to claims the flood happened due to over development.

Chow earlier announced a RM460,000 flood mitigation project at Jalan Merican involving widening drains, construction of two box culverts and a pedestrian walkway and raising the level of the road.