GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Island City Council’s (MBPP) expenditure of about RM300mil to RM400mil on the Bukit Kukus paired road project resulted in it recording a deficit in 2017.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the council was directed by the state government to implement the project in Paya Terubong.
“Normally, the council will not implement such a massive road project.
“But because it was to alleviate traffic congestion in Paya Terubong and Ayer Itam to Relau and Bukit Jambul, it was carried out with an alignment which was determined decades ago,” he said at a press conference after meeting with Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin in Komtar.
Chow added that MBPP had to allocate RM100mil annually over three years for the project as it was a special case for public use.
He was commenting on the Auditor-General’s Report 2017 which had highlighted the increase in MBPP’s deficit from RM1.41mil in 2016 to RM98.61mil in 2017.
It was reported that the paired road project, which costs RM545mil, may only be completed late 2020 or early 2021 following a stop-work order after a landslide in October last year.
On Oct 19, a landslide at the construction site where the Bukit Kukus paired road was being built swamped 12 containers that housed construction workers.
Nine foreign workers died in the incident while four others were injured.
Chow said the council’s coffers were robust, and other than collecting assessment rates, its other sources of income were from development charges and contributions from projects.
As for the Seberang Perai Municipal Council’s (MPSP) deficit, Chow said MPSP had always faced challenges in balancing its account even before Pakatan Harapan took over.
“They have a healthy reserve bill over the years, sometimes with surplus and sometimes with deficit.
“But the state government will continue to assist MPSP in managing its accounts,” he added.