Putrajaya’s fault, not ours, for delay in new homes for flood victims, says Kelantan

Source: The Malaysian Insider

A mother with her baby, at the flood relief centre in Bandar Utama Gua Musang, Kelantan, who are homeless almost six months after the flood. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, May 23, 2015

PAS’s Kelantan government has refuted Putrajaya’s claim that setbacks in building homes for victims of the December floods were due to delays in approving land for the project.

Instead, Kelantan has blamed the federal government, citing an incomplete handover of the project tender.

“Please let us know which land has yet to be approved if what they say is true. These are just political accusations,” state housing exco Datuk Abdul Fattah Mahmood told The Malaysian Insider.

“The real issue is that the awarding of the tender has yet to be completed. We suggest that the federal government resolve this matter and not blame the state government.”

Fattah is the opposition state’s person in charge of housing issues for the flood victims.

The floods in December were the worst Peninsula Malaysia had seen and laid waste to many areas in Kelantan in the northeast, displacing some 200,000 people at its height.

Rebuilding of the state has been a contentious issue between the opposition Islamist party, PAS, and the federal government, as both vie to win support from the state’s largely Malay-Muslim populace.

Fattah was responding to claims by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, who said that the delay in building houses for the people was due to land issues, as land is under the state’s purview.

Shahidan had told the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday that Kelantan’s delay in approving land for new homes was one of the reasons reconstruction work in Kuala Krai was slow.

He said the state government had only approved 12 plots of land in Kuala Krai on April 8 for new houses.

“When we are done levelling the soil, we have a Industrial Building System (IBS) which enables a house to be built within 45 days,” Shahidan had said.

Flood victims themselves have complained about the delay in receiving new homes, with many still living in temporary shelters out in the open.

The also blamed the state government for delays in granting land approvals.

According to a joint agreement between the federal and state governments, Putrajaya is to build 1,221 houses and the state government 300. A total of 1,821 houses were completely destroyed by the December floods.

Until today, the federal government has only finished seven houses while Kelantan has completed 60.

The Malaysian Insider reported earlier that five months since the floods, hundreds of displaced people are still living in tents, exposed to blazing heat and thunderstorms, and are bracing themselves to observe the Ramadan fast in such conditions next month.

On the state government’s part, Fattah said it expected to complete 150 houses out of the 300 that it is responsible for before Hari Raya Aidilfitri in mid-July.

The state government approves land for such purpose while various organisations including charities and non-governmental organisations, carry out the construction work.

Only some land has been found unsuitable and will need more remedial work before construction can begin, Fattah said.

He said about 10 hectares of land behind the Dabong Lembaga Pertubuhan Peladang (LPP) has been approved.

“We have agreed after the National Security Council said it was willing to complete land and infrastructural works, while the Dewan Perniagaan Melayu Malaysia (DPMM) will build the houses,” he said in response to Shahidan.

For flood victims in another district, Gua Musang, Fattah said that the state government had approved a 6 hectares of land in Kampung Pulai.

More than 40 houses will be built there through the welfare fund, Tabung Kurniaan Tuanku Sultan Kelantan, he said.

The Kelantan Islamic Religious and Customs Council (Maik), meanwhile, will build 123 houses in Tanah Puteh, Gua Musang on a 21.4-hectare plot of land that has been approved by the state.

Another 21.4 hectares has been approved in Limau Kasturi, he added.

In Tanah Puted, the state has also approved 32.4-hectare for new houses to be built by Khazanah Nasional, Fattah said.

Fattah said all these showed that Shahidan’s claims against the state government were untrue.

He also said that some of the flood victims were on the list to receive housing under Putrajaya’s affordable homes programme, the People’s Housing Project (PPR), in Gua Musang, and questioned why the federal government was not taking steps to relocate them there immediately.

He said about 1,000 PPR units have been ready since 2012.

“Thirty-eight of the flood victims are in the list of owners, so why aren’t they placed in the PPR units first?”

Fattah added that the federal government could easily place other flood victims in Gua Musang into PPR units, and the problem would be solved.

A grandmother with her granddaughter still lives in a tent in Dabong, Kelantan almost six months after the flood. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, May 23, 2015
A grandmother with her granddaughter still lives in a tent in Dabong, Kelantan almost six months after the flood. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, May 23, 2015

In a recent visit by The Malaysian Insider to the Bandar Utama Gua Musang flood relief centre, those camped there said they had agreed to move to the PPR houses despite having to pay a part of the property price.

They also questioned why the houses, which have been completed since 2012, were not given to them for the time being so that they no longer had to live in the tents, as they have been doing since January.

The Kelantan government has set aside RM10 million to assist flood victims, including building houses.

There is also a RM60 million allocation by Maik for flood victims, while another opposition-led state, Selangor, has contributed RM5.06 million to build 60 houses. – May 23, 2015.



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