KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — The government will introduce climate change as one of the subjects in schools and universities in the country in the aftermath of the worst flood in Peninsular Malaysia.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in a statement this evening said that the Disaster Management Committee meeting yesterday had agreed to focus on the whole of society approach for the matter such as educating the people, cooperation with the civil societies and organisation and conducting a study to build infrastructure to stop the flooding in cities including SMART tunnels in Shah Alam.

“The government is aware of climate change which is also one of the factors to the flood disaster in the country.

“In this regard, the creation of key subjects in disaster management at various levels of education, schools, colleges and universities will be implemented so that the whole Keluarga Malaysia can adopt this as a new norm,” he said.

The meeting was attended by mentris besar, chief ministers, the minister and deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Affairs), chief secretary to the government, chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces, inspector-general of police, director-general of the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma), as well as secretaries-general and directors-general of related agencies.

Ismail said the short- and long-term proposals submitted by the Ministry of Environment and Water (KASA) to solve the flood problems were provisionally approved in the meeting.

Among them were building SMART tunnels especially in cities with high population density such as Shah Alam, developing resilient settlement areas as a “sponge city” as done in China, and creating water reservoirs or “riverside reservoir cities” such as in the Netherlands.

“Ministries and agencies are also advised to set aside five per cent of management and development expenditure for disaster management purposes in the future.

“This is important for disaster inventory preparation, recovery and post-disaster expenditure as well as disaster risk prevention and mitigation,” he said.

Malaysia’s worst flooding in half a century claimed 54 lives and displaced more than 70,000 people in seven states across the south-east Asian nation after torrential rains, worsened by climate change, in December 2021 and early January this year.

The federal and state governments were criticised for slow response in the early stages of the flood especially in Selangor, where several districts were affected the hardest.