THE Penang Island City Council (MBPP) is planning to set up flood sensors next year as a measure to alert the authorities on rising water level.
Its Engineering Department director Addnan Mohd Razali said the sensors would be installed by the roadsides and whenever it was inundated, it would send alert signals to the related authorities.
He said the sensors, which had been included in the council’s 2018 budget, would be fixed in flood-prone areas.
He added that the number of sensors and the places for such installation had yet to be finalised.
Meanwhile, Penang Federal Action Council chairman Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said a Flood Prevention Master Plan was much needed compared to the Penang Transport Master Plan.
He added that the Federal Government had never stopped its allocation for flood mitigation projects in Penang.
“The Federal Government spent RM2bil on flood mitigation projects in Penang since the 10th Malaysia Plan.
“It also approved RM150mil for the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project in November last year,” he said.
Zainal Abidin said instead of spending RM305mil on the feasibility and detailed design studies for the proposed third bridge linking Gurney Drive and Bagan Ajam, the state government should spend the amount to resolve flooding woes first.
He said the state government should stop blaming the weather and the heavy rainfall each time the state is hit by flash floods.
“Probably, the frequent flash floods are related to uncontrolled development, hill-cutting besides sea reclamation,” he said.
Datuk Lakhbir Singh Chahl, a former secretary of the then Penang Municipal Council (MPPP), said the state government should work on turning Penang into a more resilient state by investing in disaster risk reduction.
He said there was no such thing as natural disaster, but natural hazard such as flood which becomes a disaster as a result of human and societal vulnerability that can be addressed.
He said disaster risk reduction was an investment that would never be regretted.
“Install early warning systems and emergency management in the city and hold regular public drills.
“Invest and maintain critical infrastructure that reduces risk such as flood drainage to cope with climate change.
“It will protect lives and the livelihood and properties of the people,” he said.
Lakhbir Singh, one of MPPP’s longest-serving council secretary, said it was vital for leaders to keep abreast with the emergency measures that could been taken when a disaster happens in the state.
He was referring to a handbook titled ‘How To make Cities More Resilient’ by United Nations, which is meant for local government leaders.
Separately, at a press conference in Komtar yesterday, the Penang government announced a one-off RM400 payment for flood victims of the “worst floods in the history of Penang” on Friday.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng stressed that the payment was not a ‘precedent’ but a ‘one-off’ following the extraordinary heavy rains due to the tailwind of Typhoon Doksuri.
He said the application forms would be issued on Monday, adding that it must be returned within a month before payment could be given out.
“This RM400 payment will be managed by elected representatives, municipal councillors and the JKKK of Pakatan Harapan state government under the supervision of state exco member Phee Boon Poh,” he said.
Lim said 200 registered families were evacuated from their homes during the recent floods.