Malaysia: Experts blame over-development for Penang flooding

The Star 31 Oct 16;

GEORGE TOWN: Environmental activists are worried Penang is being over-developed while the state government is upset with the Federal Government for delaying the disbursement of RM350mil for flood mitigation.

“Sea water did not rush upriver to stall the rain runoffs that submerged large tracts of George Town,” said Malaysia Nature Society Penang branch advisor D. Kanda Kumar.

Kanda also called on the state not to blame the tides or global warming on the Federal Government, as it was low tide when the four rivers here broke their banks on Saturday.

“It’s development. By allowing top soil to be cleared off and covering hectares of land with concrete and asphalt ... where will the rain go?”

He said while financial aid from the Federal Government slowed the flood mitigation plans, the state government should not allow property construction without sufficient rainwater dispersal planning.

Environmentalist and academician Datuk Dr Leong Yueh Kwong said over-development caused both floods and droughts.

“When rain cannot seep into the ground, the water runoff will flood the surface while the earth beneath stays dry. When the rainy season is over, drought will set in quickly because little of the rain reached the water table underground.”

Dr Leong also called for greater attention to hill cutting and clearing.

“One study by Universiti Sains Malaysia had shown that the development of Bukit Gambier had directly contributed to flooding on the campus and in the Minden Heights area.”

Penang Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow urged the Federal Government to approve the RM350mil flood solution.

“The first phase of the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project was completed more than 10 years ago.

“The second phase cannot take place without that allocation.”

Air Itam Dam overflow played no role in Penang's flash floods, says PBAPP
PHUAH KEN LIN New Straits Times 30 Oct 16;

GEORGE TOWN: The flash floods that inundated 14 areas on the island and affected parts of the mainland yesterday were not related to the Air Itam Dam. Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa denied that the dam had anything to do with the floods.

"The flash floods that occurred in Paya Terubong valley, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Masjid Negeri and Sungai Pinang yesterday were not related to the Air Itam Dam. "PBAPP recorded about 135mm of rainfall at the dam yesterday.

There was a minimal overflow of 12mm of water at the dam at about 7.10pm.

"Any overflow from the Air Itam Dam will go into Sungai Air Itam only," he said in a statement today. Jaseni stressed that a 12mm overflow is insufficient to cause widespread floods in George Town, adding that the flash floods occurred before 7.10pm.

He added that heavy rain had caused a landslide near the Kek Lok Si Temple along a stretch of road leading to the Air Itam Dam. "No one was injured, but debris, including a boulder, caused the road to be temporarily impassable to cars.

"The debris has been cleared by PBAPP, together with the Fire and Rescue Department," Jaseni said.

Penang wants speedy approval of RM360mil flood mitigation project funds
ANTHONY TAN The Star 30 Oct 16;

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government has urged the Federal Government to expedite the approval of a RM350mil allocation for the second phase of the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project here in the wake of Saturday's floods here.

Penang Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the flash floods that hit various places along Sungai Pinang and its tributaries highlighted the importance for the project's immediate implementation.

"The first phase was completed more than 10 years ago. However, the second phase could not proceed because of the failure to get an allocation from the Federal Government," he said in a press statement on Sunday.

Chow claimed that the state government had raised the matter with the prime minister and minister in charge many times since 2008 but had yet to get the money.

He said the state drainage and irrigation department had already resettled more than 200 families living along the Sungai Pinang river reserve for the second phase to be implemented.

"The state government urges the Federal Government to quickly approve the RM350mil allocation to solve the flood problems along the Sungai Pinang basin, which is an important basin as it passes through places with high residential and development density like Paya Terubong, Bandar Baru Air Itam, Jalan Air Itam, Jalan Lumba Kuda, the Jelutong area including Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Dato Keramat dan Jalan Sungai Pinang," he added.

Penang gov't: Federal gov't yet to approve grant for flood mitigation project
PHUAH KEN LIN New Straits Times 30 Oct 16;

GEORGE TOWN: The state government has blamed the federal government for not approving a RM350 million grant to mitigate Penang’s chronic flash flooding woes.

According to State Local Government and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow, the local administration said federal agencies had delayed the completion of the flood mitigation project by not approving the funds.

"Phase two of the project undertaken by the state government has been stalled due to the failure of the federal government to grant fund approval.

"We have been bringing up the matter since 2008, but no allocation has been given by the federal authority," he said in a press statement today.

Chow urged the federal government to approve the allocation to ease the recurring flash floods.