Penang govt criticised over alleged failure to address flood problems affecting Kg Pertama vegetable farmers

MCA vice-president Datuk Tan Teik Cheng (left) talking with farmers on floods issue at their area behind SJKC Seng Keow in Permatang Pauh. —ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

BUTTERWORTH: Penang MCA chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng has criticised the Pakatan Harapan state government over its alleged failure in addressing the flood problems affecting Kampung Pertama vegetable farmers.

"The vegetable seedlings that were originally thriving were washed away after the floods where 40 vegetable farmers were left speechless and suffered heavy losses,” said Teik Cheng, who is also MCA vice-president.

He said these vegetable farmers have repeatedly lodged complaints with the state elected representatives and MPs, and even asked Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to solve the flooding problem for more than 30 years.

“However, the state government has been turning a deaf ear and the problem has never been resolved,” said Teik Cheng to reporters when he visited the farm at Kampung Pertama.

Also present were Penang MCA secretary Yeoh Chin Kah, its Bagan division chairman Tan Chuan Hong and its Permatang Pauh division secretary Lim Beng Hock.

"Nowadays, the prices of pesticides and fertilisers have increased by about 20% and this has caused Kampung Pertama vegetable farmers to suffer greater losses,” added Teik Cheng.

He also said in addition to seedlings being washed away in the floods, the herbicides were also washed away, causing the weeds in the farmland to thrive.

“Therefore, vegetable farmers have to pull out the weeds and wild vegetables that grow after each flood, which burdens farm work.”

He said it is understood that the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) failed to open the floodgates in time, which caused the vegetable farmers to face the flooding problem.

Teik Cheng said it was inexcusable to allow their vegetable farm to suffer from floods again and again.

“It is estimated that there have been more than 10 floods there this year. This loss is a very large number, and I call upon the state government to take the problem seriously.”

Teik Cheng also suggested DID to add a water pump to the sluice so that when the sluice gate is unable to open at high tide, the pump can drain the excessive rainwater out to the sea.

He said this will help to avoid frequent flooding at the farm due to the inflow of river water.

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