Saturday, February 05, 2005

M'sia To Present Masterplan To Rebuild Banda Aceh

SUNGAI SIPUT, Feb 5 (Bernama) -- Malaysia will submit to the Indonesian Government in two to three weeks a comprehensive masterplan to redevelop tsunami-stricken Banda Aceh, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said.

He said a team of experts comprising engineers and town planners were currently in Banda Aceh to gather latest information on the extent of damage inflicted by the tsunami tidal waves on Dec 26.

The experts would send to him tomorrow the details of their survey which he would present to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"Najib and I will leave for Banda Aceh next week for a first-hand look of the devastation caused by the tsunami before handing over our masterplan to the Indonesian authorities," he told reporters after giving ang pows 254 inmates of old folks' home in his Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency.

Samy Vellu said Malaysia would present the masterplan to the republic's works and housing ministries which had sought Kuala Lumpur's help to assist in reconstruction efforts.

He said Indonesian works and housing ministers had met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to seek Malaysia's assistance to rebuild the capital city of Aceh province.

The masterplan is being prepared by the Construction Industry Development Board which might be instructed to supervise redevelopment work.

They would undertake the task on behalf of the Malaysian Government, he said.

To revive Aceh's economy, he said, Malaysia would assist Indonesia to rebuild basic infrastructures, houses and industrial development.

"We're extending a helping hand on the invitation of the Indonesian Government and as our close neighbour," he said.

He, however, declined to reveal the financial allocation made by the Malaysian Government for the redevelopment programme, saying it was still at the preliminary stage.

"Whatever Malaysia intends to do in Banda Aceh needs the prime minister's approval," he said.

On another issue, Samy Vellu said he would table in the Cabinet in two weeks findings of the investigations by PLUS Expressways Berhad which fined expressway users spending too much time on the North-South Expressway to manipulate toll payments.

"Recently, I promised to present the investigation papers to the Cabinet soon, but I'm unable to do it due to the tsunami tragedy.

"The Cabinet may discuss the issue after Feb 21. In the meantime, I've directed the expressway concessionaire to stop imposing fines.

"After the directive was issued, I did not hear further complaints of Plus continuing to fine motorists. It looks like Plus had agreed," he added.



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