LANGKAWI (BERNAMA) - Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday (Feb 17) announced an allocation of RM1.315 billion (S$443 million) to implement five new government projects in the holiday island of Langkawi in Kedah state.
The allocation followed expectations that former prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad is eyeing to contest the Langkawi parliament seat at the coming polls.
Datuk Seri Najib on Saturday gave details of the projects - construction of an additional building for Langkawi Hospital (RM500 million), quarters for hospital staff (RM135 million), a new fire and rescue station and staff quarters at Padang Matsirat town (RM30 million), the upgrading of the airport road Jalan Bulatan Lapangan Terbang- Pulapol Langkawi (RM50 million) and a project to address water supply issues (RM600 million).
The allocations will be placed under the 11th Malaysia Plan, a five-year government development blueprint between 2016 and 2020, the Premier said.
"At present, Langkawi Hospital can only accommodate 110 beds, while the bed occupancy rate is nearly 90 per cent. Therefore, the Langkawi Hospital additional building project has been approved under the Third Rolling Plan of the 11MP," he said.
He said this in a speech at an event in Langkawi.
The new hospital building is expected to be able to accommodate 220 beds.
Mr Najib said the project would also provide facilities for full-paying patients to meet the demands for health-tourism in Langkawi, which has yet to have a private hospital.
On the project to address water supply in Langkawi, he said, it was allocated the most funds as the project was intended to be a long-term solution.
He said the current capacity of water production in Langkawi had reached the maximum level of 89.4 million litres daily. The new the project, involving off-river storage at Padang Matsirat town, would ensure additional water supply of 124.48 million litres daily.
This would be sufficient to accommodate water supply for Langkawi until 2040.
"Implementation of the project started earlier this year and it is expected to be ready in 2022," he added.
He said the projects showed the commitment of the Barisan Nasional government at federal and state levels to safeguard the welfare of the people in Langkawi.
Hinting at Dr Mahathir's possible move to contest in Langkawi, Mr Najib said the people should not look back or continue with life based on sentiments or feelings.
The development and transformation to ensure the well-being of citizens required a solid and strong government, and not the popularity of an individual.
"An individual, no matter how popular the person was before, cannot bring changes without a strong party behind him," he said.
As a state that did not have enough natural resources, PM Najib said the people of Kedah should not allow the state to return to the time when it was under the Opposition.
"Without the support of the federal government, we will go back to that time. We should not return to that time, but look ahead," he said.