RM2.5mil of Covid-19 fund spent

PENANG has spent RM2,547,741 on various Covid-19 initiatives after collecting RM7,103,594.83 for its Penang Covid-19 fund as of Nov 5.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the funds were mainly contributed by various agencies and departments from the Penang government, non-governmental organisations, private sector and many others.

He was responding to a question by Dr Afif Bahardin (PN-Seberang Jaya) on how the state government would use the balance of RM4,555,854.83.

“The state government will continue to assist the needy with the funds.

“This is in addition to the Penang People’s Aid Packages which we rolled out in various phases totalling RM150mil since last year,” he said at the state assembly sitting yesterday.

Earlier, Opposition leader Datuk Muhamad Yusoff Mohd Noor (BN-Sungai Dua) claimed that the 650ha reclamation work for reclamation of the coastline in Bagan Ajam, Butterworth, would wipe out the fishing villages there.

He alleged that the present government had revived the reclamation project by signing another agreement with the developer, to which Satees Muniandy (PH-Bagan Dalam) interjected and said the reclamation was mooted by the previous Barisan Nasional government.

Satees then asked Muhammad Yusoff to get compensation from Putrajaya if he wanted the reclamation to be cancelled.

State exco member Phee Boon Poh (PH-Sungai Puyu) also joined in the fray by telling Muhammad Yusoff that Barisan should not have signed the reclamation contract in 1999 if it was concerned about the environment and welfare of the fishermen.

In September 2018, the Pakatan Harapan-led state government signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with Rayston Consortium Sdn Bhd (RCSB).

The agreement amended several clauses of the Land Reclamation and Resettlement Agreement that was already signed between the Barisan-led state government and RCSB in June 1999.

The new agreement stipulates that RCSB will give 90.31ha to the state after it was given the right to reclaim 650ha.

On June 16, 1999, RCSB was given the right to relocate about 1,000 squatters along the path of the BORR.

RCSB was also part of the consortium that built the BORR, along with Etika Gemilang (Butterworth) Sdn Bhd. Part of the BORR, too, is built on reclaimed land.

On pig farming activities, Satees said Muhammad Yusoff should have made it clear to his PAS counterparts that pig farming had been around since the days of Barisan.

“It was Pakatan which came in and set guidelines on such activities,” he said.

PAS committee member Abdul Razib Abdul Rahim had recently alleged at the PAS muktamar in Kuala Terengganu that development projects including large pig farming in Penang was to drive out the Malays.

Muhammad Yusoff agreed the pig farming had been a longstanding issue, but called for stricter enforcement.

“Pig faeces being released into rivers has been an issue since 1996 and it has polluted the irrigation for padi fields,” he added.

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