IN an effort to reduce flash floods in the state, more than half a billion ringgit has been spent on flood mitigation works and infrastructure in Penang since 2013.
Penang works, utilities and flood mitigation committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the funds were derived from the Drainage Contribution Fund, a mandatory charge imposed on property developments in the state.
He said since 2013,369 projects worth RM155mil had been implemented throughout the entire state.
“On top of that, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) had also spent nearly RM43mil on 37 flood mitigation projects in the same period, while another RM150mil for eight high-impact projects were approved by the state government after the November 2017 floods.
“Out of these eight projects, six are already under construction while two more are being tendered out following the completion of their detailed designs this year, ” he said in a recent statement.
Zairil, who is also Tanjung Bungah assemblyman, said in addition to the state projects, the Federal Government, had since 2018 approved five projects worth approximately RM200mil, including the long-awaited Sungai Pinang flood mitigation scheme.
He said considering all of the state and Federal projects, around RM550mil had been allocated since 2013.
MBPP Urban Services Department director Mubarak Junus said the council spends an average of RM506,163 each month on drainage clearing works within areas under MBPP’s jurisdiction.
“In addition to the cost of road and cleaning works, the counci spends an average of RM848,926 each month just to clean up the drains and public area.
“And up until September this year, our council workers have cleared up to 3,604 tonnes of rubbish and silt sand from trenches and drains, ” he said when contacted.
Meanwhile, Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud said as of September this year, they spent RM7.03mil on clearing the drains on the mainland.
He said thanks to the ‘Orange Heroes’ (referring to the general workers who don orange T-shirts), a total of 162.5 tonnes of rubbish were cleared from open drains and MBSP pumphouses.
“But, efforts from the city council would be in vain if the public do not change their attitude toward littering and throwing rubbish into the drains and rivers.
“If drains and rivers are full of rubbish, there will be an overflow, causing flash floods during high tide.
“Sadly, the public still do not learn their lesson from the misery of floods that are caused by their own doing (of littering), ” he said.
Rozali said if there is higher civic consciousness among the public, mega flood mitigation projects would not be required.
He said the public should change their attitude on littering wherever and whenever possible.
He added that besides littering, waste materials from commercial vehicles, improper management of wastes from commercial premises, improper renovation done by building owners and illegal discharge of waste into the drainage system as well as rivers were among the main culprits of clogged drains.