After flash floods, Penang urged to stop hill slope and sea reclamation projects

Flash floods occur at the Jalan Perak and Jalan P. Ramlee junction in George Town, November 7, 2016. — Bernama pic
Flash floods occur at the Jalan Perak and Jalan P. Ramlee junction in George Town, November 7, 2016. — Bernama pic

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GEORGE TOWN, Nov 7 — A local non-governmental organisation (NGO) has called on the Penang state government to stop all hill slope development and land reclamation projects immediately to look into the cause of flash floods in the state.

Pertubuhan Warisan Tanah and Teroka Bandar (Teroka) advisor Yaakob Omar said the DAP-led state government must find ways to resolve the recent flash floods and landslides incidents in the state.

“The state government has failed to ensure sustainable development in the state but instead was too busy pointing fingers and using political excuses to cover up their failure,” he said in a statement issued today.

Yaakob blamed the recent flash floods and landslide incidents in the state on “uncontrolled development” in the state.

According to him, the floods in George Town, Batu Maung and Mak Mandin were no longer due to heavier rainfall.

“One of the main causes is due to hill slope development that removed all the trees, thus destroying the natural buffer zone that used to stop water from gushing down from the hills down to low-lying areas,” he said.

He pointed out that the muddy flood waters that covered villages in low-lying areas were proof that the floods were due to water from the cleared hill slopes.

“For example, Sungai Pinang and Batu Maung villages have faced muddied floodwaters three times in these two weeks,” he claimed.

As for the seafront areas, the land reclamation works have caused severe siltation that worsen flash floods due to disruption to the water flow, he said.

Yaakob pointed out that even George Town is faced with muddy flood waters whenever it rains.

“The severe siltation will also destroy the delicate eco-system of the sea and the mangrove swamp and this could also affect fishermen’s livelihood,” he said.

Now, Yaakob said, there is another threat of landslides that are becoming common especially in areas like Batu Ferringhi, Paya Terubong, Mount Erskine, Balik Pulau, Relau, Telok Kumbar and Bayan Lepas.

“We are extremely disappointed in the state government for its failure to resolve the flooding issues that are happening more frequently these days.

“The state government should be taking proactive steps to work with the relevant departments to repair the drainage and irrigation systems in the state,” he said.

Continuous heavy rain from last night has led to flash floods in a number of villages on the island, both in the northeast and southwest districts.

A portion of the Batu Ferringhi Road had also caved in and the road is now closed to traffic.

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