Does heavy rain equal massive floods?

massive-floods-malaysiaBy TK Chua

I read news reports that Kelantan is now inundated with floods. Before this, Penang and Kedah suffered the same fate. I wonder what reasons we are going to use to explain the flood. Most probably, one or more of the following will be cited as likely causes – the monsoon, climate change, continuous rains, Oktoberfest and God’s wrath.

Maybe the rains we have experienced in recent times have been heavier than usual. But does this prevent us from looking at our land use and development processes? Can we just dismiss the floods as something unexpected or out of the ordinary?

What have we done since the 2014/2015 massive yellow flood in Kelantan? Have we dredged the river mouth, deepened and widened the drainage, and cleared the rivers of garbage? Have we looked at hillside development, potential erosion and landslides, and the drainage system, particularly in low-lying but heavily populated areas?

I remember a memorial monument was built at Kuala Krai to commemorate the yellow flood of 2014/2015. May I know what purpose the monument is now serving? I sincerely hope it is not submerged in water right now.

I think it is about time for all authorities, federal, state and local, to look at the development processes more closely. True, wind and rain may be a little heavier than usual due to climate change, etc. However, this should prompt the authorities to be even more vigilant instead of being complacent.

Shortcuts and cost-savings in development processes will only bring more damage to the country in the long run. It is a choice the authorities must consciously make.

I am not saying if we follow proper procedures and guidelines, floods will not recur. But I do believe floods will not happen on the scale we see today.

Sometimes we are “sen wise and ringgit foolish”. We try to facilitate development, cut costs and compromise environmental concerns, but we end up paying a higher price in the form of ravaging floods.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.