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Penang advised to halt hill slope development

 | November 6, 2017

If there is any financial surplus, the state should spend it to solve the flood problem before planning further development, says natural resources and environment minister Wan Junaidi.

wan-junaidi-hill-slopeAMPANG: The Penang government should stop hill slope development to avoid landslides during heavy rain like what happened last Saturday, said natural resources and environment minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

“Please don’t carry out any more hill slope development or we may see a repeat of the landslide in Tanjung Bungah during Saturday’s floods. Fortunately, the houses there were not occupied yet,” he said at a news conference at the drainage and irrigation department’s (DID) Ampang branch today.

He said the Penang government should prioritise solving the flood problem in the state before planning further development.

“If there is any financial surplus, the state should spend it to solve the flood problem,” he said.

Wan Junaidi said the floods that hit Penang at the weekend were unexpected and among the worst in the past 20 years.

“Rainfall recorded during the floods was 250mm in 24 hours, way above the 150mm recorded previously for a single day of the heaviest rain.

“What happened in Penang was unexpected and it coincided with high tide which prevented flood waters from flowing into the sea,” he said, acknowledging that the rains that lashed Penang would have caused flooding in any other states.

He declined to make a judgement whether the severity of the floods was due to overdevelopment in Penang.

“However, if trees have been cleared from the hill slopes, the capacity of the ground to absorb rain water would be reduced, and this will lead to flooding.

“Also, if drains are clogged with mud and debris, as what happened in Kuala Lumpur, we will also see flooding. Floods are not caused by any single factor,” he said.

Wan Junaidi said RM1.04 billion had been spent on flood mitigation projects in Penang from the 9th to the 11th Malaysia Plans.

DID would review the level of protection in designing flood mitigation projects for inclusion in subsequent Malaysia plans.

“We also need to build sea walls and flood retention ponds if there is available land, to reduce the flood problem,” he said.

Penang was inundated by floods after more than 15 hours of heavy rain and strong winds, which damaged houses, closed roads, fell trees and caused landslides.

More than 3,700 fled their flooded homes and were being housed at 56 relief centres.

So far, seven people have been confirmed dead as a direct result of the floods.


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