Friday, March 09, 2007

Govt knew jetty not suitable for tourism

THE Federal Government had been informed beforehand that the RM3.4mil jetty at Sungai Pinang was not suitable for tourism.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the matter was forwarded to federal officials when they were in Penang to brief the state government about the project.

“Although we agreed with the proposal, we told them that the area was not suitable. Hence, we asked them to include facilities for fishermen.

“They went ahead with the project and since it was a federal matter, we could not do anything,” he said after attending the Penang Development Corporation Chinese New Year gathering yesterday.

Dr Koh was responding to Natural Resources and Environment Minis-ter Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid's comments that spending RM21mil for the Sungai Pinang jetty and the promotion of the area as a tourist destination was a mistake.

Playing host:Dr Koh serving a plate of char koay teow to Jamaludin(right)during the PDC Chinese New Year gathering yesterday.With them is Rosli(second left).
The 250m-long jetty, which was completed in February last year, can dock up to 60 tourist boats.

Dr Koh said the project was not a waste because local fishermen were now using the facilities at the jetty.

The DAP rapped the state government for breaking its silence on the tourist-cum-fishermen centre in Sungai Pinang only after being ticked off by Azmi.

“This is unacceptable. It only shows a breakdown in the Barisan Nasional’s consultative mechanism,” its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said after visiting the site yesterday.

State DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow said feedback gathered from fishermen indicated that the site was not ideal to dock yachts or tourist boats.

“The water is too shallow for boats during low tide,” he said.

State Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Datuk Azhar Ibrahim, who clarified that the centre was built using federal funds, said the centre was only handed over to the state last year after studies found that it was unsuitable to promote tourism.

Earlier in his speech, Dr Koh said projects undertaken by government-linked companies were aimed at enhancing the people’s standard of living.

Agencies like InvestPenang and PDC not only helped to spur the state's economic growth but also social development, he added.

Present at the gathering were state executive councillor Lau Chiek Tuan, Information Ministry secretary-general Datuk Siti Balkish Shariff, Penang State Secretary Datuk Jamaludin Hasan, PDC general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar and InvestPenang chief operating officer Datuk B.J. Yeang.

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Source : STAR
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