Good plan needed to drain water from flood-hit areas
PENANG’S drainage system is unable to cope with heavy rain falling within a short period of time, said state Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow.
He said the cause of flooding in the state on Sunday night was due to the “very heavy and continuous downpour”.
“In Teluk Kumbar, the occurrence of flash floods can only be remedied by the installation of a more efficient pump system with a higher capacity to drain the water out from the affected area during high tides and rain.
“At the moment, a consultant has already been appointed to come up with the design in a few months for a RM3mil project to upgrade the pump system. Hopefully by the second half of next year, the tender can be called to appoint the contractor to carry out the installation.
“A detailed design is also being drawn up for a RM7.5mil flood mitigation project, approved by the state, in order to upgrade the drainage of Sungai Nipah, Sungai Teluk Kumbar and Sungai Relau,” he said at the launching of the ‘Pedestrian is King’ campaign at Town Hall yesterday.
Chow added that the Irrigation and Drainage Department (DID) had also ordered a developer to clear the clogged drains at its project site in Batu Maung that had allegedly caused a mudslide.
He said the areas affected by the downpour from 7.30pm onwards were Sungai Tiram, Relau, Teluk Kumbar, Bandar Baru Bayan, Kampung Seronok and Batu Maung as well as roads including Jalan Mahsuri, Jalan Tengah and Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah.
“The Sungai Ara catchment also recorded 80mm of rain water in a hour. It would be a different outcome if the 80mm downfall took place over two to three hours, instead of within an hour which made the effect more pronounced,” said Chow.
The categorisation of rainfall intensity exceeding 60mm in one hour is considered very heavy according to the DID.
Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin urged the state government to immediately implement the southwest district flood mitigation masterplan.
“Developers from southwest district have been contributing to flood mitigation funds. Residents also pay their quit rent diligently.
“It is only fair to start using these drainage contribution funds to upgrade drainage infrastructures within the area,” he said.
Call to fix Penang’s flood funding snag
PENANG will carry improvements on the drainage and irrigation systems if it had the money, said state Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow.
“In the 11th Malaysia Plan, we applied for more than RM800mil worth of projects but none was approved.
“If we have the money, we will, of course, conduct works on Sungai Pinang, Sungai Junjung, Teluk Kumbar and other places,” he told a press conference at 1st Avenue Mall yesterday.
Commenting on the drainage system in the southwest district that was built in the 70s, Chow asked that funds be given so the state could replace the antiquated system.
“Drainage and irrigation is a joint responsibility of the state and the Federal Governments, moreover, the Irrigation and Drainage Department (DID) is a federal agency.”
Meanwhile, state Housing Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said it was imperative that Sungai Pinang be deepened and widened as scheduled under Phase II of the flood mitigation project.
“The rainy season has started and we need to start work on the second phase as it involves the areas most effected by flood.
“I sent Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar a letter dated Dec 1 to ask for the funds for the project (to be released),” Jagdeep, the representative for the constituency, told a press conference.
“The state has done its part and relocated the residents in Sungai Pinang.
“We want the Federal Government to be committed to carry out the RM450mil Sungai Pinang Phase II flood mitigation project.”
Under Phase 1 of the project, the river was widened and deepened from Kampung Rawa to the Dhoby Ghaut bridge.
Phase 2 involves, among others, relocating residents to make way for the project and the rehabilitation of the entire river.
Other flood mitigation projects involve Sungai Juru and its basin (RM80mil) as well as restoration works for Sungai Jawi (RM40mil), Sungai Perai (RM35mil) and their basins.
The projects for Bayan Lepas are estimated to cost RM153mil, Sungai Perai (RM35.4mil) and Sungai Kechil in south Seberang Prai (RM12mil).
Odd job worker Nurjan Md Shabdin, whose house is near Sungai Pinang, said she has experienced flooding as high as chest level during the 50 years that she has lived there.
“There are still snakes and monitor lizards that swim into our houses during the floods. My appliances and mattresses have had to be replaced many times,” she said.
Hammad Noor Abdullah, 41, who has lived there since he was 14, said he had to carry his school uniform in a bag and swim to school when the are was flooded.
“I am hoping the Phase II project is carried out and the village is finally free from floods,” he said.
On a separate matter, Chow said the state government had formed a steering committee and four sub- committees to implement the Penang Transport Master Plan.
“We have the Legal and Finance, Technical, Land Use, and the Strategic Communication committees which I head.”
When asked what the plans were for Eastern & Oriental Bhd’s 131 acres of reclaimed offshore land of Gurney Drive for the STP Phase 2, he said the plans had yet to be finalised.
“Part of it will be given to Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd and there will be a road, green area, linear park and low-density commercial buildings. It’s just a concept now.”
Chow did not rule out a public consultation on the works should there be a need. Reclamation works on the land is expected to start this month.
Separately, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng claimed that the Federal Government had sidelined the state.
“Penang has been excluded from the Budget over the years and several projects have also been cancelled.
“The state’s application of RM805mil for flood mitigation projects was rejected and promises to build an LRT system to reduce traffic on the roads have not been fulfilled,” Lim said.
“The request for an upgrade of the Penang International Airport was also not given serious consideration.
“I hope the promise to build a multi-storey car park to increase parking capacity at the airport will not become an empty promise,” Lim said in a press statement.
Coping with flood aftermath
SPRING-CLEANING was the order of the day throughout Penang due to the extraordinary downpour that lasted more than 10 hours and inundated many areas.
Residents living in Permatang Damar Laut Road felt the full brunt of Mother Nature as their houses were filled with mud after the flood.
About 50 residents held a demonstration, blaming the upgrading works along the road for their plight.
“The project has a poor flood mitigation system. Each time it rains, residents know the area will flood,” said housewife Hasiah Md Isa, 57.
Resident Zulkifli Abdullah, 63, said contractors should dig drains alongside their project.
According to Bayan Baru Umno division chief Datuk Mansor Musa, who was present at the demonstration, the Public Works Department (JKR) is undertaking the project.
“We have contacted JKR along with the contractor in charge of this project, asking them to visit the site and explain the situation. It is important for them to identify the cause of the problem.
“We are now requesting that the contractor pay compensation to the residents affected,” he said.
Kampung Sungai Tiram resident Zaliha Yaacob, 28, said the family spent a sleepless night moving their belongings from the rising water.
“We always expect a flood when it rains but we did not expect it to be this bad,” she said while clearing the mess at her home.
Business owner Lau Kok Peng, 60, was also busy cleaning his popular coffee shop.
“It’s a good thing my shop closes on Monday but there’s a lot of work to do,” he said.
In Teluk Kumbar, 44 flood victims from 12 families have left the evacuation centre for home.
Operations officer Lt Muhammad Aizat Abdul Ghani said flood victims began seeking shelter at the Dewan Perda Kampung Masjid Teluk Kumbar from 8.55pm on Sunday.
“They are from Kampung Sulup, Kampung Nelayan and Kampung Seronok.
“They received sufficient supplies from the Welfare Department during their overnight stay,” he said.
On Sunday evening, heavy rain lashed the island and mainland, inundating several low-lying areas.
Traffic came to a crawl as motorists sought safer routes out of flooded roads.
The state recorded 80mm of rain water in an hour from 7.30pm.
Penang Fire and Rescue operation centre head Y. Anbarasan said rescue personnel, including a boat unit, were dispatched as soon as the first flood distress call was received at 9.32pm.
“At 5.10am (yesterday), we evacuated 37 flood victims from 11 families to Dewan Perda Kampung Masjid Teluk Kumbar.
“There were no landslides but two trees fell in Tasek Gelugor and one in Batu Uban,” he said.
At the Pesta site in Sungai Nibong, ankle-deep water forced some operators to close shop early.
Other flooded areas on the island included Jalan Tengah in Bayan Baru, Bukit Jambul, Relau and Batu Maung.
Penang Island City Council Urban Services Department director Mubarak Junus said about 40 staff members were dispatched to help clean up the mud in affected areas including Permatang Damar Laut, Jalan Kampung Bukit and around the Penang Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas.
“We’ve also deployed backup squads to help clean up the roads and drains, and two teams to help in the garbage collection,” he said.
On the mainland, the worst affected areas were Permatang Tinggi as the river bund there broke, causing water from the river to flow into Kampung Permatang Tinggi, Taman Usaha, Taman Usaha Jaya and Taman Pewira.
Seberang Prai Municipal Council president Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif said a special squad and six response teams were dispatched to the affected areas on Sunday night.
“Some of the team members stayed until 1am (yesterday) while some stayed on until 3am to monitor the situation. No residents were evicted,” she said.
She said Seberang Prai district received an average 50mm of rainfall.
The Meteorological Department forecasts cloudy mornings followed by thunderstorms in the afternoons and evenings every day for the entire week until Sunday.
A spokesman from the department said the north-east monsoon would cause the northern region of peninsular Malaysia to receive heavy rainfall late in the day until the end of this month.
Also affected was the Penang International Airport which saw the driveway outside the arrival hall flooded.
When contacted, Penang International Airport senior manager Mohd Ariff Jaafar said there was not much discruption to the airport.
“The prior RM1.5mil flood mitigation project involving the installation of an on-site detention tank helped decrease the water during flash floods.
“There was backflow of water from a monsoon drain for two hours in the evening.
“The volume of water increased to about 69mm at 8pm but the water cleared up in less than 30 minutes,” he said in a text message.
Rainy day for commuters
GEORGE TOWN: A torrential downpour which lasted about 90 minutes caused flash floods in several areas in Bayan Baru, Bayan Lepas and Relau near here.
Among the worst affected roads yesterday were stretches of Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Jalan Tengah and Jalan Mahsuri.
Many vehicles were stalled in the flood waters which rose to about knee high at some places following the heavy rain which began at about 6.30pm.
The situation was so bad at one point that a stretch of Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah in Bayan Lepas was temporarily closed off to traffic in both directions which worsened the traffic congestion already faced by road users.
Among the places where motorists were caught in traffic jams lasting for more than an hour were Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah and Jalan Tun Dr Awang.
The driveway outside the Penang International Airport’s arrival hall and the roundabout leading to the airport were also flooded, causing vehicles to move at a snail’s pace. Some people could have missed their flights due to the floods and traffic congestion.
The Penang Pesta ground was also hit by the floods. The annual fair began on Saturday.
Penang Works Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng, when contacted, said the rainwater could not flow off quickly enough due to the high volume from the heavy rain.
“The drains are also clogged by rubbish. The Penang Island City Council, Public Works Department and Drainage and Irrigation Department are looking into the matter,” he said.
Among the villages flooded were Kampung Sulup in Teluk Kumbar and Kampung Sungai Tiram in Bayan Lepas where the waters rose up to about 0.6m high.
Kampung Sungai Tiram villager Zaliha Yaakob, 28, urged the authorities to solve the flood woes in the village.