TROUBLED by flooding problems for days at a time, the residents of Taman Pengkalan Harapan in Pasir Puteh, Ipoh, are urging local authorities to solve drainage issues in their neighbourhood.
Living close to the Sungai Pinji and in a low-lying land, residents, especially those in houses along Hala Pengkalan Timur 2 are often plagued by major floods and flash floods after a heavy downpour.
With an upcoming development project on vacant land close to their houses, residents want the developer as well as the Ipoh City Council, and the Drainage and Irrigation Department (JPS), to make sure that the new development either resolves, or will not worsen the current flood problems.
Resident N. Suria Morthy, a 55-year-old technical assistant, said frequent floods began occurring between 2001 and 2004. In the most serious incident saw floodwaters rose to waist height.
“Some time in 2004, they upgraded the drains here by building higher walls to prevent water from overflowing.
“This almost solved our flood problems and there were only occasional flash floods following the drain upgrade.
“Since land-clearing began for a new development project last year, the flashfloods are back,” he said, adding that the flooding restarted last December.
The flooding causes a major inconvenience to the residents as Hala Pengkalan Timur 2 is the only way leading in and out for residents living in the area near the river.
Suria Morthy related that years ago, a developer promised an alternate road would be built which would cut through an adjacent residential area.
“17 years have passed and nothing has come about the promise.
“I hope the local authorities can also look into building an alternate road for us so that if Hala Pengkalan Timur 2 is flooded, we do not end up being stuck,” he said.
Suria Morthy was among residents who help placards in protest of the new development.
Ng Gek Tin, 66, and her son Jeffrey Teoh, 30 also voiced their concerns.
Recalling the worst flood they encountered seven to eight years ago, Teoh said he could still remember that floodwaters rising to the second step of the staircase in their house.
“After they upgraded the drains here, the floods stopped, and it was only until recently that they started happening again.
“We believe that it is due to the development that has started taking place in the surrounding area here.
“I think the water is not channeling into the river effectivelty, so it overflows the small drains here,” he said.
Ng said, it started flooding again during a downpour on Feb 25 and it took less than a hour for water to flow into their house.
“I was having a meal outside at the time, luckily my son was still at home and he immediately alerted me when the flood happened.
“Although the water level rose fast, it subsided quickly too, unlike the past,” she said.
Auxiliary police personnel Hafizi Mohd Amran, 50, said he is worried that if the drainage issues are not solved before the new development project is completed, floods will occur even more frequently and become more serious.
“There is only one monsoon drain here, and it’s not even big, which is where the main problem lies.
“Water flowing in the drain has nowhere else to flow and the drain cannot accommodate such large volumes of water especially during a downpour.
“I really hope that the authorities can understand our concern and do something about this before it becomes worse,” he said.
Representing the residents, Pasir Pinji assemblyman Howard Lee stressed that the people in the area are not against development, but the do however want their long-standing flood problems to be solved for good.
“We are asking for the authorities concerned in the planning process to include a solution for the flooding problem here in any development plans they approve.
“The residents are willing to engage fully with the City Council and developers to come up with a win-win solution for all parties,” he said.
Lee added that his office has met with the State Local Government Committee chairman to arrange a multilateral meeting with JPS and the Ipoh City Council’s Town Planning Unit.
“Invitations have been sent out for this meeting. However, we have not received any concrete feedback on when the meeting will be held.
“It has to be a multilaterial meeting as this issue involves drainage and town planning. It has been a month and I hope that the authorities can look into the issue as soon as possible,” he said.
Attempts to reach State Women Development, Family, Community Welfare, Housing and Local Government Committee Chairman Datuk Rusnah Kassim for comments on the matter were unsuccessful as of press time.