OVER RM13mil has been approved by the Federal Government for Penang to mitigate coastal erosion, said Penang works committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari.
He said three locations were identified to benefit from the allocations through projects to overcome the phenomenon of strong rising tides that lead to coastal erosion.
“Of the areas, Bagan Ajam will receive RM9.5mil for the construction and repair of the bund wall.
“Coastal areas in Mak Minah near Juru are allocated RM1.7mil while the estuary of Sungai Kerian in Byram will receive RM1.9mil, both also for works to build and repair bund walls, ” he said.
As for Batu Ferringhi, the state forked out RM236,522 for mitigation works at an eroded site near a resort belonging to the state government.
Zairil was commenting on severe beach erosion in Batu Ferringhi where a stretch of the beach at the westernmost end has been washed away, exposing previously buried boulders.
Last Sunday, The Star highlighted the erosion with comparison photos taken from several years ago to show that the boulders were recently unearthed by rising tides.
Zairil said the beach erosion in Batu Ferringhi was an isolated incident and occurred only at one resort and not the entire stretch of Batu Ferringhi’s beach.
“It is general knowledge that this resort certainly does not have a beach during high tide and the beach there appears only during low tide.
“The resort built structures along the edge of their lot, to the edge of the sea.
“The structures are a burden to the edge and are among factors contributing to the erosion, ” he said.
Zairil said discussions were held with technical agencies in February and the resort agreed to conduct mitigation works along the beach.
“They will appoint a consultant to submit a proposal to Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and Penang Island City Council for review before starting work,” said Zairil.
He stressed that coastal erosion is a natural phenomena and Batu Ferringhi experiences it at a rate of 2.08m per year, which is small compared with states like Terengganu which experiences up to 24m per year.
He also said at the same time, DID has applied for seven more coastal projects to Federal Government under the 12th Malaysia Plan.
Private sectors are welcome to collaborate in rectifying coastal erosion.
“DID has completed a coastal erosion project in Bagan Ajam beside Butterworth Outer Ring Road via a collaboration with Rayston Sdn Bhd, Penang Port and the highway operator, ” he said.
He added that based on the National Coastal Erosion Study 2015, Penang has 7 coastal erosion sites with a total length of 4,652m.