Penang wants road grant system updated

Picture shows part of the landslide which occured at Jalan Tun Sardon in Penang November 5, 2018. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Picture shows part of the landslide which occured at Jalan Tun Sardon in Penang November 5, 2018. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 5 ― It is time to update the Malaysian Road Records Information System (Marris) to accommodate current road conditions, state executive councillor Zairil Khir Johari said.

The public works, utilities and flood mitigation committee chairman said he is discussing with the Public Works Ministry to look at updating the road grant system.

“The guidelines in Marris are outdated. It needs to be more flexible to fit with current situations so we have engaged with the transport ministry to update it,” he told Malay Mail today.

Road grants under Marris are allocated to all states to repair state roads, but there are guidelines to adhere to, so the grants do not cover all road repair works.

Zairil said the guidelines stated that the grants can only be used to repair roads to its original design, so there was no room for the road to be upgraded or improved using the same grant.

He said about RM130 million is allocated to Penang per year and the grants were approved based on the length of the road and the type of road.

Another example of the grants' outdated guidelines is that it will not be approved for any slope failure that is 6m above a road.

Zairil said the state had applied for grants under Marris to repair the exposed eroded slopes beneath Jalan Tun Sardon leading to Balik Pulau, but the application was rejected as the slopes were 6m above the road level.

The exposed slopes, which are covered with sheets of geo-textile tarpaulin, were eroded ever since the heavy bout of rain in November last year.

Due to the urgency of the issue, Zairil said the state executive council had approved RM10 million allocation from state funds to repair the slopes.

“We can't get grants from Marris so the state exco decided to approve the allocation to repair the slopes,” he said.

He said the tender for the project ended last month and the tender board will be appointing the contractor by November 25.

“The project will start after that,” he said.

As for Penang's numerous hill slopes that were damaged by the rains last year, Zairil said the state has applied for allocations from the federal government to repair these slopes.

“We are hoping to get approval for the repair works of some these slopes,” he said.

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