THE only PAS state assemblyman in Penang was asked to make his stand on the water dispute between Kedah and Penang.
Towards the end of the question-and-answer session, M. Satees (PH – Bagan Dalam) questioned Mohd Yusni Mat Piah (PAS – Penaga) on his stand on the issue.
“The Kedah MB seemed not to understand the term ‘riparian rights’. Can I know what is the stand of the Penaga state assemblyman? Does he support Penang or the Kedah MB who has repeatedly provoked Penang?” Satees questioned.
Mohd Yusni said: “Kita Penang, akan jaga rakyat Penang.” (We… Penang, will care for the Penangites).
“The issue of ‘drinking muddy water’ has not arisen. We are still drinking clean water.
“We should instead ensure that the rivers in Penang are clean,” he said.
Satees pressed on, urging Mohd Yusni to make a stand.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow then interjected, saying that Mohd Yusni had done so.
“He has answered the question that he is siding Penang,” Chow said.
Chow questioned: “I did not put words into your mouth, yes?”
Everyone in the hall broke into laughter and Mohd Yusni was seen giving the thumbs-up.
Chow said that Penang noticed that many areas in Kedah were facing water problems.
“We felt sympathy for those affected. We heard their calls for help via the media; the affected Kedah residents were surviving on water from tanks.
“This issue was supposed to be addressed by the Kedah MB. Nevertheless, the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) felt the need to help the people, especially in this emergency situation,” he said.
Chow revealed that the state received a letter from the Pahang MB recently, thanking the Penang government for its help when several areas in Pahang were hit by flood.
“The PBAPP deployed water tanks and helpers to address the situation in Pahang.
“We are willing to help, and the Pahang MB also courteously thanked the state.
“We have also helped the people in Kedah, not the Kedah MB, numerous times,” he said.
Chow said those actions showcased the Penang government’s principle.
“When he goes low, we go high.
“We want to abide by the law, and not issue offensive and hurtful remarks which are pointless.
“The pointless remarks reflect the true attitude and character of the person who made the remarks,” Chow said.
He also hoped that the Federal Government would play its role as stated in the Constitution, in ensuring Penang’s riparian rights to abstract raw water for the people’s usage.
On a separate matter, Chow said that the state government had requested the Penang Development Corporation (PDC) to study the methods of setting the land premiums, including incentive rates which could be given to the industries of which their 60-year lease was expiring.
“Those in the older industrial area are probably left with 10 to 20 years. The industry players need clarity to plan ahead.
“We are working on this, such as how much to charge (the land premium) and how much to give (incentive).
“We also want to regulate the types of industries. Where do we want the industries to be after the 60-year lease expires?
“We have to move towards high-tech and R&D industries,” he said.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis and Muhamad Amir Irsyad Omar
Video by Chan Kok Kuan