Ghani solves Bakri village woes

MENTERI Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman has brought cheer and joy to more than 25,000 residents in Bakri New Village in Muar.

Chong Chee Seong, NST

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman (third from left) having cendol with villagers in Muar last Thursday. — Picture by Jamaludin Husin
Several outstanding problems were solved within two hours when he toured the village in the Bakri parliamentary constituency last Thursday.

Bakri MCA division chairman Sia Kia Tuan said the problems included the relocation of the village landfill, upgrading of the drainage system and water supply to residents in outlying areas.

He said after listening to the views of the residents, Ghani allocated RM3 million to upgrade the village's drainage system which would reduce flash floods and RM1 million to resurface the landfill after its closure within three years.

Sia, who is the village headman and community development committee chairman, said Ghani also directed Syarikat Air Johor Holdings Sdn Bhd to connect a pipeline from the police water tank nearby to about 50 families in the village who faced water shortages.

He said the families at present obtained water from Batu 8 Bakri, where the pressure was low.

"When the issues are solved, the residents can sleep soundly," Sia said at his Bakri New Village office.

Meanwhile, member of parliament for Bakri, Er Teck Hwa, said he was unhappy that the Housing and Local Government Ministry had rejected his call for compensation to villagers whose properties, crops and livestock were affected by flash floods and whose health was also affected by environmental pollution caused by the landfill.

He said many residents had complained of breathing difficulties, giddiness, vomiting, rashes and other illnesses due to the unhygienic condition and stench arising from the landfill, which had also become a mosquito breeding ground.

Er said many vegetable growers in the village could not afford to pay their medical bills.

At a press conference at his Jalan Sakih service centre recently, he said he had raised the issues in Parliament, adding that the ministry had confirmed that the 14.6ha dumping ground which began operations in 1986 was not a sanitary landfill, and, as such, had caused environmental pollution and health problems to the residents.

It is believed that the ministry, as an interim measure pending the landfill's relocation to Pagoh, would upgrade it to sanitary level.

The ministry will also follow the "Technical Guideline for Sanitary Landfill, Design and Operation" issued by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The landfill will be transformed into a recreational centre after it is closed.

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