‘KL drainage systems need urgent upgrade’

Many drains have been there for a very long time. They are no longer able to cope with the increased water volume during downpours.- Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye

OUTDATED drainage systems, flash floods, traffic congestion and poorly maintained roads are major challenges facing Kuala Lumpur.

Alliance for Safe Community chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) must allocate resources towards finding sustainable solutions to flash floods.

The first step, he said, was to review and upgrade drainage systems in the city.

“A complete overhaul of the drainage systems in Kuala Lumpur is needed.

“This is because many drains have been there for a very long time.

“They are no longer able to cope with the increased water volume during a downpour, ” he said.

Lee also pointed to numerous development projects taking place in the city, including construction of buildings, highways and public transportation systems.

“These developments are causing siltation problems in surrounding drains.

“Debris from these sites are clogging up drains, resulting in water overflow during a downpour, ” he said, adding the water turns muddy and washes sediments onto roads.

Lee stressed that DBKL must regularly inspect the drains to ensure that there were no blockages, as flash floods often resulted in traffic crawls because vehicles were unable to pass through affected roads.

In a StarMetro report on Nov 16, Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said the ministry was exploring several ways to address flash floods in the city.

These included cooperation between DBKL and the Drainage and Irrigation Department for mitigation efforts worth RM150mil, upgrading drainage systems and using camera surveillance in monitoring water levels so that flood warnings could be issued.

Former mines and natural ponds that could be used to retain water were also being identified, in addition to ongoing works to improve 16 retentions ponds in the city.

Responding to the report, Lee, who is a former Bukit Bintang MP, said road maintenance in the city, especially near construction sites, should also be looked into.

He said DBKL should compel project developers to regularly check for surface defects on roads.

“Potholes are a common occurrence on roads near construction sites as a result of the heavy equipment and vehicles, ” he said, adding that potholes could contribute to accidents especially during a downpour.

He said developers must not wait until projects were completed to repair the potholes.

“The developers must regularly patch up these holes, as they endanger motorists.”

The former National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health chairman also expressed confidence in Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah, who he said was a steady pair of hands to lead DBKL.

“He is a very experienced man who prefers a hands-on approach.

“He has served with DBKL for over 30 years and was once a town planner for the city, before becoming an executive director, ” he said.

The mayor took over from his predecessor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan last month. — By FARID WAHAB

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