I commend the Penang Chief Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the MPPP President, Dr. Teng Hock Nan for at last taking a serious attitude about the Prangin Mall subsidence crisis affecting some 2,000 people in 150 houses in inner Georgetown.
If the Penang State Government and the MPPP had been more responsible and responsive to the complaints of the people in the past three months about the Prangin Mall project excavation works causing serious cracks to the houses, the damages caused to the 150 houses would not have reached their present serious and critical proportion.
In fact, up to two days ago, the MPPP President was making misleading statements seeking to minimise the severity of the subsidence of the houses, leading to the Tanjong Area Crack-Affected Homes Representative Action Committee having to issue a statement of correction and regret.
Yesterday, the MPPP President said he was unhappy because the MPPP had earlier received a report from the developer that "the worst was over - that earth settlement, cracks and the water table seemed to be okay", but now the MPPP was receiving reports from the affected residents of new cracks and the worsening of existing ones.
This is the best proof that for more than three months, the MPPP President and the Penang State Government had not been listening to the people who are directly affected by the Prangin Mall subsidence crisis and the strongest reason why MPPP must bear part of the responsibility for the damages suffered by the 2,000 people in the 150 houses for not having acted earlier to issue a "Stop Work" Order to halt further aggravation of cracks and subsidence of houses.
I cannot agree with the Penang Chief Minister when he said yesterday that the developers and the contractors would be fully responsible for the damages caused by the soil subsidence.
The Chief Minister must act fairly and courageously in this matter and admit that the MPPP had also been negligent and must bear part of the responsibility for the damages suffered by the people in the subsidence crisis.
There are three urgent problems which should be addressed immediately: