GEORGE TOWN: Reports on Penang’s “first fatal victim” during the floods are not true, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today following a front-page report by an English daily.
He said the so-called fatal incident, as reported by The Star newspaper, was false and probably meant to paint a bad picture of Penang.
“Today’s front page of The Star shows a woman wading in floodwaters up to her chest.
“Underneath, the headline, it reads: ‘Floods have claimed two victims in Penang and Kedah…’
“In the New Straits Times (NST), the same picture was used, but with a caption that says the picture was taken in Gerik, Perak. Looks like The Star is a bigger liar than the NST.
“As far as we know, there are no flood-related deaths in Penang — only that of a man who drowned after his boat capsized near the Prai River.
“The Star should retract and apologise immediately on the front page as well,” Lim said at a press conference at the state assembly today.
Lim added a story on page four of The Star had also wrongly reported “floods in Penang claimed its first victim after a 42-year-old man slipped into the Prai River and drowned”.
Early Sunday morning, a five-hour downpour lashed Penang and the northern peninsula, causing flash floods in villages.
This was the fifth time this has happened since the monsoon season began in late October.
State Welfare Committee Chairman Phee Boon Poh said the only death was recorded at the Sugar Factory Jetties along the Prai River.
He said a 42-year-old man from Ipoh, Perak, and another were in a tongkang during the 10.30pm incident on Saturday.
Phee said the victim fell off the boat and drowned due to choppy weather.
“The man did not die due to the floods, as alleged by the reports.”