Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Komtar, George Town on Wednesday, 17th November 2010:
The Penang state government will study the letters by MCC-Gamuda JV Sdn Bhd on flood prevention and mitigation before deciding whether to lift the stop work order on the RM13 billion Ipoh-Padang Besar EDTP Project
I have been informed that MCC-Gamuda JV Sdn Bhd has sent a letter to us on the stop-work order issued last week addressing the concerns of the Penang state government that the project may cause or worsened floods that ravaged Kedah two weeks ago. The Penang state government will study the letters by MCC-Gamuda JV Sdn Bhd on flood prevention and mitigation to ensure that the conditions of the state government are met before deciding whether to lift the stop work order on the RM13 billion Ipoh-Padang Besar Electrified Double Track Project (EDTP) Project.
The Penang state government expressed surprised at the over-active imagination of Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha who insist that the stop-work order on the RM 13 billion Ipoh-Padang Besar EDTP is an attempt by the state government to politicize and make life difficult for the Federal government.
This is false as the state government is in no position to make life difficult for the Federal government. The political reality in Malaysia is that the Federal Government is all powerful and can make life difficult for state governments. Witness how state governments have to beg for Federal government funds even though it is the states that contributes taxes.
The state government can only agree to Kong's demand that the stop work order be lifted if the Transport Ministry is willing to give a written guarantee in place of the contractor as required by the state government to prevent a mega flood that happened in Kedah. The state government had wanted the contractor to give two written guarantees that it will bear all losses should a similar flood problem as in Kedah arise on the mainland as a result of the project. Further MMC-Gamuda must also remove and tear down any structure built by them that causes water retention or water to overflow if flooding occurs.
There is no point saying that all flood control measures are in place as there is full consultation with JPS and JKR. After all there was full consultation between the contractor with JKR and JPS in Kedah, and yet both the Kedah Menteri Besar and the MCA Minister of Housing and Local Government blamed the contractor for contributing to the worst floods in Kedah history.
The Penang state government wants to see the project completed but not at the risk of sacrificing public interests, people's livelihood and investments of billions of ringgit in our high-tech industrial parks in Prai and Bukit Minyak. I am puzzled as to why Datuk Seri Kong is even more excited than the contractor in protesting when the contractor has not make to-date protested against the stop-work order.
Can Kong show proof how we politicize the matter against the Federal government when the whole issue revolved around avoiding the Kedah-type worst floods in history and crisis management? If Kong fails to show proof, then it is Kong that is seeking to politicize the matter to avoid dealing with the serious issue of flood mitigation and prevention.
The Penang state government makes no apologies for our pro-active and pre-emptive approach in crisis management. Penang and our 1.6 million people just can not afford another Kedah-type flood and all preventive measures must be taken to ensure that in the event such floods occur, losses can be minimized.
To be so scolded by a heavyweight Federal Minister as Kong is not easy to bear. But I prefer to be scolded by Kong than to be scolded by the ordinary Penangite for not doing everything within my powers to help reduce and mitigate floods or at least prevent the Kedah-type floods from happening in Penang.
*Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister