Sunday, May 4, 2008

Penang to work with federal govt on NCER projects for the sake of the state and its people

GEORGE TOWN: The state government has agreed to adopt the Northern Corridor Implementation Agency Act 2007 for the smooth implementation of all projects under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER)
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state executive councillors gave their endorsement during Friday's exco meeting, after two months of extensive discussions. He said he believes Penang is the first Pakatan Rakyat state within the NCER to adopt the Act. The other two PR state governments, Kedah and Perak, have not made any public statements.

Despite reservations from various quarters that the Act would give more power to the federal authority which is promoting the NCER, Lim said the state government was prepared to work with the federal government in the interests of the people. "This is a very important decision. We are willing to co-operate with the federal authority to ensure the people here benefit from the various development projects, such as the Second Penang Bridge and the monorail project.
"I also want to give my assurance that the people's interest will not be compromised in any way," Lim said after a courtesy call by the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (Penang branch) yesterday.

Lim said he received a letter from the prime minister, dated March 28, requesting him to adopt the Act.

The Act was passed in Parliament last year and signed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin on Feb 5. It was gazetted on Feb 14.

"I will hand over a letter on the state's acceptance to the prime minister personally," said Lim.

The NCER was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last July. Sime Darby Bhd was given the task of master planning the NCER, while the job of implementing the project fell to the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA).
The long-term development plan, which covers Perlis, Kedah, Penang and northern Perak, is aimed at unleashing the economic potential of the northern sector of the peninsula and and raising the income of its people.

There are 11 members, including the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers of the four states, two federal ministers, a civil servant and two representatives from the private sector in the NCIA. Lim is the sole representative from Penang.

Asked to comment on the alleged land scam in the state, Lim said he would give former deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah another two weeks to meet with him to discuss the issue. The original deadline was April 28, but Lim said he was extending it after a statement by deputy opposition chief Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya that the matter was best discussed in private rather than in public.

Guan Eng tells PM: Penang has adopted Northern Corridor Act
KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — The Penang government today formally informed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi it has adopted the Northern Corridor Implementation Agency (NCIA) Act to manage the implementation of projects under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) programme.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng conveyed to Abdullah the Pakatan Rakyat government's adoption of the Act at a 20-minute meeting he had with the prime minister at the latter's office at Parliament House.
The Act paves the way for the setting up of the NCIA, the agency responsible for developing socio-economic related strategies, policies and the overall direction of the NCER.
The state executive council unanimously agreed on May 3 to adopt the Act.
Lim told reporters at the Parliament lobby that the meeting with Abdullah was to inform the prime minister of the state government's decision to implement the Act from May 15.
The NCER programme is a federal government initiative to accelerate socio-economic growth and elevate income levels in Perlis, Kedah, Penang and northern Perak. — Bernama

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