by ASILA JALIL / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
MALAYSIA may need up to RM300 billion for long-term measures in flood mitigation until year 2100, said Environment and Water (KASA) Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
He told a special Parliament sitting yesterday that this will be done in a 50-year period with focus on developing water infrastructure such as flood mitigation, construction of embankments and tyres, coastal erosion prevention, among others.
The ministry proposed nine long-term measures to improve flood mitigation practice in the country, namely by strengthening climate change adaptation in the water sector. As such, Tuan Ibrahim proposed the development of the Adaptation Actions for the Water Sector.
“Under this act, KASA will propose the establishment of a special fund or a trust fund to increase the adaptive capacity of the water sector and coastal areas, through infrastructure development and maintenance that takes into account climate change factors,” he said in his speech.
The National Adaptation Centre under the ministry will be formed to coordinate policies and the implementation of climate change adaptation, he explained.
At the same time, the ministry will increase the capacity of flood-water reservoirs through implementing riverside reservoir projects and dams for flood mitigation purposes.
The public and nature awareness will be implemented via communication, education and public awareness, said the minister. This will also involve flood training drills and it will be implemented at the school and community levels as it is aimed to educate and empower the people on adequate response to be taken during floods.
“In addition, the ministry is also open to studying the experience of other countries in flood management. In this regard, I would like to inform the house that the Dutch government has offered assistance to Malaysia through the Dutch Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
“Among the offers was to send a Dutch Risk Reduction team Team to Malaysia to assess the impact of the flood phenomenon and propose proper solutions,” he said, adding that the ministry is also in discussion with various parties to make this collaboration a success.
The floods that occurred in December last year were due to the unprecedented natural phenomenon, Tuan Ibrahim said, citing several factors that led to the catastrophe. Among them were developments in flood catchment areas and river reserves, which causes a reduction in water reservoir capacity.
The floods were also due to obstructed river water flows due to debris containing rubbish, waste, sediment and waste materials.
“The original alignment of the river has been straightened and concreted, causing the river to flow faster in the downstream area, as well as pumps and sluices that cannot operate properly as a result of garbage piles and power outages which had to be cut by TNB (Tenaga Nasional Bhd) due to public safety,” he said.
This has affected the function of existing pumps during the flood, he added.
Several states in Malaysia — Selangor, Pahang, Melaka, Johor, Perak, Negri Sembilan and Kelantan — were affected in the “worst floods in decades” last month, which claimed 54 lives.
Various quarters have blamed excessive logging as the reason for the extraordinary flooding, as well as the impact of climate change.
Meanwhile, according to Tuan Ibrahim, the government has outlined 11 short-term measures to mitigate flooding, including ensuring the readiness of flood mitigation infrastructure (pumps, sluices and gensets) in collaboration with the state governments, so that it will be functional at an optimal level. This is expected to cost RM185 million by 2023, he said.
The minister added that the government will maintain, deepen and clean main drainage, rivers, as well as flood reservoir ponds, to improve flow capacity with an estimated cost requirements of RM200 million by 2023.