$330 million to be set aside under Malaysia's Budget 2015 for flood mitigation projects

$330 million to be set aside under Malaysia's Budget 2015 for flood mitigation projects
An aerial view of a flooded area near Pengkalan Chepa. Climate change means both heavy rainfall and dry spells can occur within the same year.

PUTRAJAYA - The recent floods caused infrastructure damage estimated at RM2.9 billion (S$1.07 billion).

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in revealing this, said the recent disaster that hit Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Kedah, Perak and some areas in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak affected nearly 400,000 people.

"In view of the severity of the situation, the Government has provided an initial RM500 million for rehabilitation activities and welfare programmes for flood victims.

"This is in addition to the existing allocation to the National Security Council, bringing the total to RM787 million," the Prime Minister said in his special address on current development and government financial situation here yesterday.

He added that an initial RM800 million had also been allotted for repairs and reconstruction of basic infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, roads and bridges.

He said RM893 million (S$330 million) would be set aside under Budget 2015 for flood mitigation projects.

"Besides this, the Government will hand over 1,000 units of completed low-cost houses in Gua Musang (Kelantan), provide RM500 per flood-affected household and RM5,000 for the next of kin of deceased victims.

"The Government will also build 2.4m stilt houses for those who have land and whose homes were ­damaged by the floods," he said.

As for businesses affected by floods, Najib said the Government would provide an additional RM100 million each to Tekun and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) to be given out as soft loans to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro enterprises.

BSN, Agrobank, SME Bank, Tekun and AIM will defer existing loan repayments of up to six months while Bank Negara Malaysia will establish a RM500 million Special Relief Facility for SME loan financing at a concessionary rate of 2.25 per cent with a grace period of up to six months through banking and development financial institutions.

Bank Rakyat is set to offer a personal loan scheme of up to RM50,000 at a financing rate of as low as 3.9 per cent, while repayments would start six months after loan disbursement.

"RM500mil will be provided by financial institutions with a 70 per cent guarantee under a Flood Relief Loan Guarantee Scheme.

"SMEs in the flood-affected areas will be exempted from levy payment to the Human Resources Development Fund for six months with effect from Feb 1," Najib added.

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