KUALA LUMPUR: DAP took the federal government to task today for its failure to help Penang flood victims in a fair and timely manner.
Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim had announced a mere RM250 handout per victim to be given out from March 11, four months after the disaster hit Penang.
Shahidan had said the money would come from the National Disaster Aid Trust Fund.
Sim said this meant that a total of RM5,467,250 would be given to 21,869 families in Penang.
This paled in comparison with the assistance given by the Penang government which distributed RM36,647,100 to 52,353 families a month after the disaster, equivalent to RM700 per family, he said.
Sim said while the federal government had announced that it did not have the budget to aid Penang flood victims, it appeared to have enough to spend on propaganda material like fake news videos, newspaper advertisements and posters against the Penang government.
“Why are Penang taxpayers being treated like stepchildren? In 2015, the federal government gave RM500 to flood victims in Kelantan and Pahang.
“In November 2017, the prime minister promised he would extend similar aid to Penang, and in February 2018, Shahidan announced in Perlis that the federal government would be giving flood aid of RM500 to each family in 10 states all over the country.
“This is why we are only asking that the federal government give the same amount of RM500 to Penang victims as well,” he said at a press conference in the Parliament building here today.
He said the feedback from the federal government was both disappointing and shocking.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng recently expressed his disappointment with the federal government for giving only RM250 in aid per family despite Putrajaya’s promise to consider giving a maximum of RM500.
Over half of Penang was submerged in floodwaters following hours of torrential rain that killed seven people in early November last year. More than 6,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes.
Authorities said the floods were caused by one-and-a-half month’s worth of rain that poured continuously for 15 hours.