Story by Victor Seow
THE rehabilitation of the state as well as steps to make sure Penang bounces back after the disastrous storms and floods which took place on Nov 4 and 5 took centre stage of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s winding-up speech in the State Assembly.
“The state government had announced the RM105 million ‘Penang Bounce Back’ programme which serves to rehabilitate and rebuild the lives of the people who were affected by the strong winds and worst flood in the history of the state. We have three urgent tasks facing us right now – the cleaning up work in the affected areas, the repair works of our properties and assets as well replacing what’s beyond repair,” said Lim on Nov 14.
“Under the ‘Penang Bounce Back’ programme, the state government will be spending RM50 million as compensation money (in the form of) one-off RM500 to each household that was affected by the floods. There’s an estimated 100,000 recipients of this one-off RM500 payment. Each family or business premises is entitled to one application to compensate the loss suffered,” the Air Putih assemblymember said.
“I’d also like to announce that the total collected donation would be totally transferred to the flood victims with an additional RM200 for each victim. This will incur an extra RM20 million. In the event the collection of donation does not reach RM20 million, the state government will top-up the balance (to reach that figure). This effectively brings the one-off compensation money to RM700 per application,” added Lim.
The chief minister also provided details of other measures which will greatly reduce the financial burden of the common folks in the face of adversity brought by the floods.
“In view of the increased water usage for cleaning works in the aftermath of this natural calamity, PBAPP had agreed to exclude the Water Conservation Surcharge (WCS) for one cycle payment period which is two months.
On one hand, a 50% discount will also be given to all domestic users. Commercial users, on the other, would be entitled to a 25% discount,” the chief minister added.
“Thirdly, the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) will be giving a 10% discount on assessment fees for all properties. This will cost the state government RM40 million. Finally, all lost or damaged documents such as land titles would be replaced without any charges. All these measures which come under the ‘Penang Bounce Back’ programme will cost around RM105 million,” noted Lim.