KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — The Federal Territories Ministry has given an assurance that existing water retention ponds in Kuala Lumpur will be preserved and not undergo any commercial development.

Its minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the preservation of water retention ponds, especially for flood mitigation purposes, will be brought to a special committee for further action, Berita Harian reported today.

“In my opinion, the areas around and the water capacity in retention ponds have to be preserved including taking into account conditions set by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage, and this condition has not changed.

“This has been discussed since three months ago where all retention areas and their capacities must be preserved,” he told the Malay newspaper.

Shahidan also promised to ensure Kuala Lumpur will have enough green areas that include sufficient water retention ponds to cope with continued development in the city.

“There is also development done around a retention pond where we asked the [developer] company not to disturb this retention pond and they agreed.

“We give attention so that the retention pond’s capacity does not change and is maintained, while development can be continued,” he was quoted saying.

He said those who have been adversely affected by development on the retention ponds can channel the information to him for resolution.

According to Shahidan, not all public land in the city is owned by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL); some are owned by the Department of Director General of Lands and Mines (JKPTG).

“In going through the unavoidable process of development in the Federal Territories, we will also add open spaces that are planted with many trees, we aim to plant one million trees.

“We will not do something that can cause harmful effects to residents, meaning we will not develop water retention pond areas,” he was quoted saying.

According to Berita Harian, there had been 15 retention ponds in KL to mitigate the floods, but there are only nine left now.

Last December 28, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to begin investigating DBKL’s approval of development of six retention ponds that are used for flood prevention.

She claimed the development approval had completely crippled Kuala Lumpur’s flood mitigation system last month.

Yeoh also claimed there had been 48 flash floods recorded from 2015 to 2020 in Kuala Lumpur.

On January 1, Yeoh together with two other city lawmakers, Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil and Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai lodged a police report to press for an investigation into the  development of the six water retention ponds.

The MACC confirmed on January 4 that it is investigating the matter.

On January 8, national news agency Bernama reported MACC chief Tan Sri Azam Baki as saying that preliminary investigations showed that none of the six ponds had been covered up and that DBKL had not received applications for development for five of the ponds and that only one of the six ponds had received approval for development.

For the flood retention pond at Taman Wahyu, Kepong that had been approved for development, MACC said DBKL has been directed to appoint an independent surveyor and submit a full report on the project development site there.

On January 10, Berita Harian reported that two of the six water retention ponds -- Kolam Wahyu and Kolam Delima — are in the process of development, while the development plan at Kolam Taman Desa had been cancelled, and that there are still no developments at the three other ponds — Kolam Nanyang, Kolam Batu and Kolam Batu 4 ½.

Yesterday, Berita Harian reported former Department of Irrigation and Drainage director-general Datuk Nor Hisham Mohd Ghazali as saying that the technical and engineering agency responsible for flood issues had in the past recommended for several water retention ponds in Kuala Lumpur to be gazetted for such purposes instead of being used for commercial purposes to address floods risks.

Nor Hisham added that the recommendations had been rejected by the decision-making body, Kuala Lumpur Land Executive Committee.