The number of hillslope development projects approved by the DAP-led Penang government is at least eight times higher than the previous administration’s. MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who revealed this on Tuesday, said the matter was discussed in Cabinet. (Pix by SHAHNAZ FAZLIE SHAHRIZAL)

BUTTERWORTH: The number of hillslope development projects approved by the DAP-led Penang government is at least eight times higher than the previous administration’s.

MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, who revealed this on Tuesday, said the matter was discussed in Cabinet.

“From what we were told, within the short span DAP came into power in March 2008, they approved seven to eight times more hillslope development projects in the state compared to the previous Barisan Nasional-led administration.

“This has brought about greater risk to the environment, and its effects are what we are seeing now,” he said, referring to the Nov 4 floods and storm which lashed many parts of the state.

A 17-hour storm two Saturdays ago led to a mega flood, landslides and uprooted trees, paralysing the state.

Thousand were displaced, while seven deaths were reported.

Dr Subramaniam, who is also Health Minister, was here to present aid to some 400 families from the Bagan Dalam and Prai state constituencies who were badly affected by the incident.

He added that the Penang government should take heed of the incident and control developments in the state.

“While the major flood was unexpected, the state government should take it as a lesson to identify the root cause of the incident.

“Several causes have been identified, but one of it has got to do with developments in the state, implemented without (weighing their) negative impact on the environment.

“There is a need for a proper drainage system, especially near the hilllslopes, which pose a serious risk,” he said, adding that many studies have been conducted to ensure that developments are not carried out at the expense of the environment.

On his visit to the state on Tuesday, Dr Subramaniam said that it is MIC’s continuous initiative to help alleviate the suffering of the people affected by the major flood.

“We sympathise with them and share in their sorrows.

“Since the flood, I have asked Penang MIC to come to their aid. Also, the federal government will provide more aid in the coming weeks,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister also said that there has been no disruption to medical services in the state following the natural disaster, and dismissed suggestions by the state government to conduct a simulation exercise to face such major floods in future.

“The medical team’s preparations are at their best during disasters, as we have a set of standard operating procedures.

“Besides attending to patients in hospitals and clinics, they are also sent to the ground to control the spread of water-borne diseases.

“And based on our record, there has been no increase in water-borne diseases such as typhoid in Penang during the recent floods,” he stressed.

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