Malaysia: Penang flash floods due to uncontrolled expansion in the state

The Star 10 Nov 16;

PUTRAJAYA: The recent flash floods in Penang are a result of uncontrollable development in the state, said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The Natural Resources and Envi­ronment Minister said that rapid development, especially along river banks, caused problems to the drainage system, which should have been looked into by the state government and local council.

He said mitigation plans would not be adequate to prevent floods if development projects, along the banks in particular, were not controlled.

“Instead of thinking about profit, the state government should have considered sustainable development.

“It could have also used the profit it got from developers to implement its own flood mitigation plan, rather than pointing fingers at the Federal Government,” Dr Wan Junaidi said at a press conference after the ministry’s monthly assembly yesterday.

The minister said a study found that the present size of the Sungai Pinang river could not sustain heavy flows of water when there was heavy rain.

The river should be upgraded by deepening, widening and stabilising its banks so that it can accommodate such water flows for at least 100 years, he said.

On Tuesday, Dr Wan Junaidi announced in the Dewan Rakyat that RM150mil would be allocated for flood mitigation in Penang although the state had asked for RM350mil.

Penang had seen a deluge of flash floods and landslides four times in recent days, the latest being on Monday when the main road connecting the city and Teluk Bahang had to be closed to traffic due to a landslide along Jalan Ujung Batu.

On the alleged pollution of Sungai Giling in Kampung Batu Laut, Sepang, from pig faeces, Dr Wan Junaidi said the ministry will wait for a full report from the Department of Environment before taking action.

Rapid, uncontrolled development led to Penang flash floods, says ministry
HASHINI KAVISHTRI KANNAN New Straits Times 9 Nov 16;

PUTRAJAYA: Rapid and uncontrollable development in Penang, which led to a cluttered drainage system, were among the reasons behind the recurring flash floods in the state.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said it was the local councils and the state government's negligence which led to them overlooking the capacity of the drainage system, which is not on par with the city's development.

He said if the development projects, especially along river banks in the state were not controlled, flood mitigation plans will not be fruitful.

"The state government should have considered sustainable development instead banking on profits from development projects.

"They could have also used the profits from the development to draw up and implement their own flood mitigation plan instead of pointing fingers at the government," he told reporters after the ministry's monthly assembly today.

Wan Junaidi said the state government should have studied the states's ability to accommodate the rapid development with the people's safety and welfare in mind. He also explained the current Sungai Pinang capacity will not be able able sustain the flow of water if efforts to deepen and widen the river is not done as soon as possible.

He said the government had approved RM150 million for the Sungai Pinang flood-mitigation project under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

Residents in flood-prone areas prepare for more misery
The Star 10 Nov 16;

BALIK PULAU: Two days after being hit by a deluge, a village in Batu Ferringhi was flooded again after a 30-minute downpour.

Batu Ferringhi Village Develop-ment and Security Committee chairman Ahmad Jassin said 25 houses in Kampung Batu Ferringhi were inundated yesterday.

“The water was ankle high at about noon.

“On Monday, the situation was really bad as the water reached waist level,” he said yesterday.

Meanwhile, residents living in other flood-prone areas are not taking any chances and have begun preparations for the worst.

Grandmother M. Govindoo, 80, said her family put up bags of sand in front of their rented house to prevent water from entering.

“Our house is frequently hit by floods after downpours.

“In July, the water level was knee high,” said Govindoo when met at Kampung Teluk Awak near Lengkok Teluk Bahang 1.

Residents in Jalan P. Ramlee have moved their belongings to higher ground in anticipation of more floods.

Rahmattullah Abdul Majid, 43, said he did not want to be caught off guard again like the last time.

“The floodwaters started rising at 3am on Monday when I was asleep and I could not salvage anything.

“Within a few minutes, the water reached my chest,” he said.

Rahmattullah, who is unemployed, said he had to fork out more than RM600 to repair his fridge and washing machine which were soaked in floodwaters.

Hardware supplier Salim Abdullah, 40, said he would be taking his family over to their relative’s house the moment it starts to rain.

“Two of my cars have to be sent to the workshop because of the floods on Monday.

“Now I’ve moved some of my stock to higher ground,” he said.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department has forecast thunderstorms and rain from today until Monday.

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