ALOR SETAR: The government will allocate RM78 million to help those affected in the Kedah floods recently, with priority to infrastructure repair and immediate cash assistance to those whose homes were damaged.
In his first public act as prime minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob approved the funds and said they would be used to repair rivers and irrigation channels in the Yan and Merbok areas, including the building of dams and assistance to padi farmers who lost their crops in the floods.
In a press conference in Yan today, he said RM500 would be given to each affected family and RM5,000 to those who had lost their loved ones in the incident.
“Another RM3 million will be set aside to fix damaged homes and kampung roads. My deepest sympathies to those who lost their loved ones and those who suffered from loss of property in the floods,” he said.
Ismail said the assistance to the affected areas would be part of the first phase to repair damaged towns, starting with a river repair spanning 27km, which included irrigation ditches, at a cost of RM5 million.
He said two new bridges would be built by the public works department at a cost of RM23 million at a state road on the southern reaches of the Gunung Jerai range.
Another RM20 million would be spent to build a new dam, and an additional RM2 million to repair and upgrade the Gurun and Tupah water treatment plants.
An additional RM25 million would be spent to repair local authority infrastructure and restore rural tourism sites (RM12.6 million); on community water supply (RM1 million); to cover losses from padi crops (RM1.1 million); repairs to village roads, drainage and small bridges (RM847,000); and RM5,000 compassionate payout for each home affected by the floods (RM9.3 million).
Ismail said as for the repairs of affected homes, each family would be allocated a maximum of RM13,000 for structural and rewiring work as part of a RM3 million grant under the rural development ministry.
He said the funds cited are “ceiling limits” with payments to be expedited immediately, adding that all heads of households affected by the floods would receive RM500 from the National Disaster Management Agency.
“If there is a need for more, the Kedah menteri besar can inform the federal government. Our priority is to urgently fix the flood-hit areas, especially on infrastructure matters,” he said with menteri besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor present.
Earlier, they visited parts of Merbok and Yan that had been affected by the floods.
The flooding last week saw close to 1,000 families affected with mud waters reaching as high as 1.5m, following an intense rainfall beating a 70-year average at 278mm in a span of a few hours on Wednesday.
Six people died in the floods.
Separately, Ismail welcomed the encouraging response from the opposition to cooperate with his new government.
He said the cooperation would be as part of the National Recovery Council, but not in the form of opposition members holding Cabinet posts.
As for the new cabinet line-up, Ismail said it would be decided soon and revealed this week after being presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“Every day there is a new Cabinet list making the rounds. It is all fake. The new Cabinet appointments will take into account the interests of all parties and will benefit all,” he said.