Undeserving getting flood aid: Penang govt refers matter to MACC


GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government today acknowledged a BN assemblyman’s concerns over undeserving people receiving the one-off RM700 payment as flood aid here last November.

It said the matter had been referred to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commision (MACC) for further action.

In a statement today, the Penang state secretary’s office admitted there could have been cases of “non-compliance” and an internal inquiry was launched early last month.

“Our internal inquiry revolves around how the aid was paid out despite the recipients not fulfilling the requirements set.

“The non-compliance issue was discussed with MACC on Feb 15 and follow-up action will be taken by them.

“Rest assured, the state administration will issue a report on the incident with all details after the investigations are completed,” the statement read.

Earlier today, Pulau Betong assemblyman Muhammad Farid Saad said his constituents had complained to him about non-flood victims getting the RM700 aid.

He also claimed several people staying in the same house in Balik Pulau had received the aid. The payout was meant for each household.

The RM700 flood aid was part of the Penang Bounces Back programme, with RM200 of the amount sourced from public donations raised for the flood victims. A total of RM19.2 million was raised.

The aid has been touted as the largest disaster aid ever given in the history of any state or by the federal government. The standard payout for flood victims by the federal government is RM500.

The state government also gave a 10% discount on council assessment rates while water bills were cut by 25% for two months following the heavy floods.

Penang Bounces Back coordinator and Pulau Tikus assemblywoman Yap Soo Huey said all payments for the constituency were undergoing an audit.

“A thorough investigation is ongoing and all payments for that constituency have been put on hold pending re-evaluation of all the applications received,” she said.

More than half of Penang was submerged in floodwaters following hours of torrential rain that killed seven people in early November last year.

More than 7,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes.

Authorities said the floods were caused by the equivalent of one-and-a-half months of rain pouring down continuously for 15 hours.

Applications for the aid were accepted for damage caused by floods to properties (residential and commercial), places of worship and vehicles.

Those who suffered damages to buildings and vehicles, caused by the storm itself and falling trees, were also allowed to apply for the aid.

Those who wished to apply for the flood aid needed to bring supporting documents to the state assemblyperson’s service centres or district offices in the localities where they sustained the losses.