THE Penang government will dredge Sungai Pinang while waiting for the Federal Government’s approval of the RM350mil second phase flood mitigation project on the river.
State Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the state government would hold discussions with the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) before works could be carried out.
“I hope that the deepening and widening of the river can be done as soon as possible, maybe before the second wave of flood hits Penang,” he told a press conference in Komtar yesterday.
Chow said Sungai Pinang has five tributaries, Sungai Dondang, Sungai Air Itam, Sungai Air Terjun, Sungai Jelutong and Sungai Mati.
“The river basin is big, and it is necessary that Sungai Pinang be deepened and widened to give a better impact upstream,” he said.
He said the flood on Saturday happened because most of the tributaries overflowed when they could not discharge water into Sungai Pinang, which was full.
Chow said the state could carry out the river deepening and widening but considered it a short-term solution, stressing that the structural flood mitigation project needs Federal funding.
“There is a RM450mil budget for the continuation of DID projects next year. Since the second phase of the flood mitigation is a continuation, I hope the Federal Government can consider approving the allocation,” he said.
He said the RM350mil could be approved in stages.
“If we can get maybe RM30mil or RM40mil next year, we can kick start it.”
Yesterday morning, a few Penang Island City Council workers were spotted clearing up trapped rubbish on Sungai Pinang.
“Although the rubbish did not block the river flow on Saturday, I hope Penangites can take note that river rubbish can worsen floods.
“I hope that the people of Penang can love their rivers and stop dumping rubbish into them,” Chow noted.
A check by The Star showed many people were still cleaning their house, throwing out damaged electrical appliances and household items and repairing cars damaged by Saturday’s flood.
Teachers and volunteers at Han Chiang High School were also seen cleaning up the school premises.
Public Works Department and city council workers were also seen throughout the island, clearing uprooted trees and fallen rocks and boulders.