Thursday, December 28, 2006

RM81 Mln DAMAGES – Roads & Bridges; Other LOSSES By Floods ( Johore, Malacca Pahang & Negeri Sembilan); TOURISTS Destinations; Businesses & Fish FARMS

December 27, 2006 15:59 PM

Local Business Urges Council Not To Raise Taxes

SEGAMAT, Dec 27 (Bernama) -- Local businesses here today appealed to the local council to postpone the 100 per cent hike in property assessment rates next year.

The Segamat Small Traders Association chairman Datuk Ghai Soo Ming said that the raise would be unfair and too high as many businesses were severely affected by the flood on Dec 19. "We are asking the local council to postpone the rise in property assessment rates for at least three years as many businesses have suffered huge losses and would take years to recover," he said. Ghai, who is also the Malaysia Small Traders Association president, said that after the three-year grace period, the local council could again re-evaluate the property assessment rates. He said the present tax structure had not been changed for about 10 years. The changes which included the 100 per cent increase in property assessment rates were decided based on a study done by a group of researchers from UiTM this year, he added.

ABOVE & BELOW: Hard to estimate the losses suffered by business community in segamat

On the total damage incurred by the local business community as a result of the flood, Ghai said it would be hard to estimate the losses at this stage. Besides the banks, which reopened yesterday, other businesses remained closed as the cleaning-up work was still in progress. Besides the damage to property and goods, any losses incurred should also take into account the loss of opportunity to do business during the flood, Ghai said.

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December 27, 2006 16:20 PM

Morten Residents Fear Damage To Their Houses And Antiques

By Mohd Bakri Darus

MELAKA, Dec 27 (Bernama) -- When the recent flood inundated Kampung Morten, a traditional village rich in Malay heritage in the heart of Melaka city, the residents were more worried about the damage to their houses and antiques than they were about their safety. The village, located on the banks of Sungai Melaka, has 100 houses which have the architecture and designs of the Melaka House and the Limas House, believed to be more than 100 years old. The village has been an attraction for visitors to the state, foreign and locals alike, but over the past one week, the houses could only be seen from afar because the settlement was under 1.58m of water. A villager, Abdul Rahim Hashim, 73, whose house has been turned into a heritage museum, said his worries started when the flood water rose to waist level and submerged four steps of the house stairs on Dec 19. Inside his house are family heritage collections which include furniture, crockery and other items from the Portuguese and Dutch colonial era.

"I did not sleep throughout the night, always keeping watch on the water level, afraid that it might rise higher. I'm glad the water did not reach the floor of the house. All the items on display are safe," he told Bernama today. Abdul Rahim, a retired Customs officer, said he was concerned that the items would be damaged if they had to be moved to safer places in emergency cases like floods. "Although I was asked to evacuate, I remained in the house for fear that the items would be stolen," he added.

He said the recent flood was worse than the one in 1971. However, the situation is back to normal in the village and the residents are busy cleaning their homes and clearing their compounds of the litter left by the flood before opening their doors to visitors for Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
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Nation, STAR; Wednesday December 27, 2006

Floods cause RM81mil damage to roads, bridges

Damage caused by the floods to roads and bridges has been estimated at RM81mil so far, with Johor accounting for RM44mil, Works Minister Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu said Wednesday.
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December 26, 2006 18:18 PM

Tourist Arrivals In Johor Affected By Floods

JOHOR BAHARU, Dec 26 (Bernama) -- The floods which hit the two southern states of Johor and Melaka have affected tourist arrivals from Singapore. A glaring example of how bad the situation is the fact that the Causeway, the link between Singapore and Malaysia, has remained traffic-free in the past three days. Gone are the bumper-to-bumper traffic and long queues at the immigration checkpoints normally associated with major holidays and long weekends? So it seems Singaporeans are staying away from travelling overland to their favourite Malaysian destinations during the Christmas holiday break.

Desaru, a popular beachfront resort in the district of Kota Tinggi, which was badly hit by floods, is not on the Singaporeans' mind lately. A spokesperson from the Johor Tourism Council said there had been a spate of hotel cancellations by Singaporeans who were supposed to spend their Christmas holiday in Desaru. "And you cannot blame them. I am sure they are worried about the flood situation in Kota Tinggi," said the spokesperson. Overland tours to Melaka and Kuala Lumpur from the republic are affected too. A spokeswoman from Archipelago Travel, which specialises in tours to Malaysia, said that business had been down by 20 to 30 per cent. "Melaka is quite popular with Singaporeans but the floods there had forced many to cancel their trip.

But Genting Highlands and Kuala Lumpur are still alright. The North-South Expressway is still passable to traffic," said the spokeswoman. Eco-tourism, another favourite with Singaporeans, is also off the radar. According to Zainal Abidin Hamid, the managing director of ZA Empire Travel and Tour based in Senai, many Singaporeans had chosen to opt out of outdoor holidaying activities because of the floods and the rainy spell. "The Endau Rompin Park and mountain trekking are not an option for them now. And I believe many Singaporeans are not travelling to Malaysia during this period," said Zainal.

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December 26, 2006 16:59 PM

Fish Farm Operators Incur Huge Losses Due To Flood;

KUANTAN, Dec 26 (Bernama) -- Several fish farm operators here have incurred losses amounting to tens of thousands of ringgit due to the recent flood. Among them is 68-year-old Abu Darus who bred red tilapia under the Kampung Pandan Freshwater Fish Pond Project. He said water levels in his two ponds had risen very fast, making it difficult for him to do anything to prevent the fish from escaping. "The actual loss has yet to be known but the sure thing is, it is worse than the previous year's. "Last year, the area was also flooded but the loss was not that big because the water did not rise quickly. This time, many fish swam away because the water level rose suddenly.

"There are still fish in the ponds here but there are not many left," he told Bernama. Abu said he was supposed to have 6,000 red tilapia during the harvest early next year. When the flood struck, each fish in the pond was estimated to weigh 500gm and could be sold at RM4 per kg, he said.

When the area was flooded last year, he lost about RM4,000 per pond.

The Kampung Pandan Freshwater Fish Pond Project covers a 70ha area under a temporary occupational licence held by the villagers over the past 20 years.


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