Malaysia: To mitigate flash floods, Penang government to closely monitor all development projects

PHUAH KEN LIN New Straits Times 10 Nov 16;

GEORGE TOWN: All development projects on the island will henceforth be closely scrutinised by the state government in a pre-emptive move to mitigate future flash floods.

State Local Government and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said primary focus will be placed on development projects near hillslopes and the river basin.

He said the Penang Island City Council (MPBB) will be tasked with identifying and monitoring project sites to help relevant authorities tackle chronic flash flooding which has occurred four times in the state since Oct 29.

"MBPP will map out projects, (especially) on the fringes of hills and near the river basin.

"There are six rivers on the island, and the state government will vet area maps as a reference point to step-up flood mitigation measures related to Sungai Pinang and its tributaries, as well as hill areas," Chow said today.

Asked on the number of projects estimated to make the list, Chow said he did not have the exact figures, but estimated that the number could run into the hundreds.

He was speaking to reporters after inspecting the RM7.2 million upgrade works at the Chowrasta Market, which is 95 per cent complete.

The refurbished site is slated to begin operations as early as the end of the year. Some 330 stalls located inside and outside the premises will be available for rental.

Meanwhile, Chow said the state government has collected RM100 million in drainage works contributions from developers since 2008.

"The state government has been carrying out small-scale flood mitigation measures for projects ranging in worth from RM500,000 to RM5 million at district areas," he said.

Penang council instructed to map out development projects
The Star 11 Nov 16;

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Island City Council has been instructed to map out planned and ongoing developments along the river basin and the fringe of hills.

State executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow said the map would be ready in a few days.

“I have requested the mayor to detail all planned and ongoing developments to allay the concerns of the people.

“We would also like to know and be assured that these projects do not cause siltation, mud slides or flooding,” said Chow, who is in charge of the Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee during a visit to Chowrasta Market to check on upgrading work there yesterday.

Chow said many general statements were made but no one could name any development projects when queried.

“We should be guided by facts and not mere accusations,” he said in response to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar’s remarks that the recent flash floods in Penang were a result of “uncontrollable development”.

Dr Wan Junaidi said rapid development, especially along riverbanks, caused problems to the drainage system, which should have been looked into by the state government and local council.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said floods had also inundated parts of Penang Island that were untouched.

“Even Jalan Teluk Bahang had a landslide. There are no developments there.

“The landslide happened because of exceptionally heavy rain with up to 300mm in three days, causing floods even in rural areas.

“Let us look at the real cause of the floods,” he said at the Penang Development Corporation’s Deepavali celebration.

Lim said flood mitigation projects, especially the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation plan could reduce flooding and “possibly overcome it”.

Bald hillslope: Environment group slams Penang govt
PHUAH KEN LIN New Straits Times 12 Nov 16;

GEORGE TOWN: AN environmental group has slammed the Penang state government for neglecting a bald hillslope patch here, after heavy rainfall on Monday caused a landslide.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia president S.M. Mohamed Idris said the exposed section next to the Jalan Paya Terubong main road posed a risk to road users.

“The hillslope is a sensitive area but local authorities have chosen not to do anything about it. “Remedial work is not coming and the likelihood for another landslide to recur is high.

“There is clearly a lack of urgency to address the bald patch.” The bald hillslope had caused jitters among motorists plying the main road.

Checks by the New Straits Times showed that the patch, which was located next to a development site, remained exposed despite concerns that rain would wash more earth down the slope off Jalan Paya Terubong.

Motorists had hit out at the inaction of local authorities to cover the section with tarpaulin or plastic sheets. It was learnt that the section was located outside the boundary of the development project and the developer was not bound by law to carry out remedial work.

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