KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — Klang MP Charles Santiago today suggested that a few short- and long-term preparations were needed for Malaysia as the country gears up for floods by the end of this year.

He said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob should consider the suggestion as the latter is currently meeting with the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and others in preparation for the massive flood, which wreaked havoc last year.

As a short-term measure, Charles said that Malaysia must create an early warning system that covers all flood areas, identify flood relief centres and make them known in advance; as well as improve MetMalaysia’s weather predicting capabilities.

He also called on the government to ensure that Nadma’s relief strategy is updated and widely circulated and that Nadma form a unit with highly skilled military and emergency services officials.

“(Malaysia needs) to organise immediate capacity-building events at the district level involving NGOs Resident Associations and Rukun Tetangga, including Rela, that should be conducted nationwide to equip the public with knowledge and skills on flood-proofing,” he said in a statement today.

For the long-term, Charles called on the government to create an effective legal mechanism for integrating policies and mechanisms for flood management, like the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 in the UK.

He also called on the state to stop all logging activities in upstream areas as this will prevent mud and debris from clogging rivers with excess water flowing to the lower plains.

Charles also suggested the government create larger underground storage schemes underneath fields and stadiums to store stormwater runoff to reduce the risk of downstream flooding during severe rainfall events.

He also suggested the use of porous asphalt to allow water to penetrate underground stormwater management facilities and the implementation of green infrastructure such as rain gardens, green roofs and vegetation to help reduce runoff.

“(Malaysia should also) adopt sponge city concepts. It strengthens ecological infrastructure and drainage systems not only to alleviate flooding but also to tackle shortages of water resources,” he said.

Malaysia’s worst flooding in half a century claimed 54 lives and displaced more than 70,000 people in seven states 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 floods especially in Selangor, where several districts were affected the hardest.