PENANG: May 3, 2008 By NG SU-ANN
The state government will adopt the Northern Corridor Implementation Agency Act which empowers the agency to implement plans for the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) despite its earlier reservations.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state decided to adopt the Act to speed up economic development in the region and federal projects in Penang.
Penang is believed to be the first of the four states (the others are Perlis, Perak and Kedah) under the NCER to endorse the Act.
Lim said the state executive council had discussed the issue at great lengths for almost two months before coming to a decision at its meeting on Friday.
“We were initially concerned that the Act would threaten the state government’s power and cause it to diminish. However, under the Act’s Clause 1 (5), all decisions made by the agency have to be done unanimously.
“As I’ll be sitting in the agency’s committee by virtue of my position as Chief Minister, I can ensure that Penang’s interests will be protected,” he told newsmen Saturday before meeting delegates from the Institute of Engineers Malaysia (Penang branch) and Malaysian Institute of Planners (Penang branch) at his Komtar office.
Lim said the agency’s 11 members were the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the heads of the four states, two federal ministers, a government officer and two representatives from the private sector.
He distributed to newsmen copies of a letter dated March 20 from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who requested him to endorse the Act so that its implementation could take effect on April 1.
On his meeting with the engineers and planners, Lim said he wanted to get their views on how to improve Penang.
He also said the state would invite qualified professionals to sit in the Penang Tender Board's Committee.
"We are also keen to get retired engineers to sit in the Penang Planning Appeals Board regardless of their race, religion, gender and political ties," he added.