Penang Gerakan today criticised the DAP-led state government for a flood mitigation project which it claimed resulted in a fire ant invasion at the public park in Taman Jajar off York Road.
Its vice-chairperson, Lim Boon Ten, said the public park was next to the Air Itam River and the sand dug up from the river had created a conducive breeding ground for the ants.
He said the ants were harmful as their sting could cause itching, swelling, and redness of the skin on the people who used the park for their recreational activities.
“The Penang Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), which is working on the state flood mitigation projects, is merely digging out the sand along with garbage, plastic bags and water bottles from the river and leaving it on the river banks, resulting in the fire ant invasion at the recreation park,” he said to reporters after visiting the park today.
Lim, who is also the state Gerakan coordinator for Datuk Keramat, said the state DID had failed to clean up the sand, rubbish and other waste left on the river banks.
He noted that the sand and rubbish dumped on the river banks were an eyesore for the people who visited the park.
He said the Penang government had announced an allocation of RM220 million for flood mitigation projects in the state next year but if this was how it was doing its work, then it would be a waste of the funds.
Lim also pointed out that the DID only dug up sand from the sides of the river and not from the middle, saying that this would not deepen the river and all the garbage left on the river banks would be washed back into the river when it rained and cause siltation.
Last month, the Penang government announced a RM220-million allocation for the implementation of several projects next year to overcome floods in many areas in the state.