PETALING JAYA: Amid the turmoil of the floods that hit Penang, a political commentator has questioned whether the state government has its “priorities” right.
Lim Sian See said the state government should “not talk about” a number of its big budget infrastructure projects including the undersea tunnel project, the Pan Island Link highway and the Gurney Wharf project.
“You have to wonder if the Penang government has their priorities correct or if their projects are for the benefit of private contractors or developers instead,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday which cited the Penang state budget for 2018 announced by the Chief Minister last week.
Lim said the people of Penang would be happy to note that RM3mil was spent to pay RM400 to each compensate poor households affected by the floods in September 2016.
“Penang people will be even happier that under the Penang Budget 2018, a staggering RM20mil will be spent by Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai City Council (MPSP) for flood prevention projects while RM10mil will be spent on hillside protection,” he said.
Lim added that the state government would be spending RM275mil to build 82 badminton courts and four Olympic-sized swimming pools.
“An additional RM45mil will also be spent to built bicycle lanes totalling 39.3km," he said.
Furthermore, he said that the Penang government would be allocating RM3mil to the George Town heritage refurbishment fund while the Little India precinct upgrade project will get RM1mil, all in order to protect the heritage status of Penang.
"Do not talk about the RM305mil that the state government is paying for 'reports' that can never get completed, the RM7.5bil for the Pan Island Link Highway (or RM385mil per km - the most expensive highway in Malaysia by double), the RM6.34bil to build the tunnel project when there is already two bridges, the RM400mil to build an eight lane road in front of Gurney drive and the undisclosed ‘hundreds of millions’ to build the Gurney Wharf public park," added Lim.
He asked whether more should be spent on urgent flood mitigation and hill-side protection instead of mega-projects of "dubious" benefits.