A MOTORCYCLE frame was among five tonnes of rubbish removed from the drains in Taman Million, Kuala Lumpur.
Despite this, residents in the neighbourhood are not convinced that this clean-up will resolve the flash flood issue in the area.
A 15-minute downpour was all it took for Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah (previously Jalan Ipoh) to be inundated.
Heavy rain on Nov 18 and 27 led to water flowing into shops and houses along Jalan Tiong, Jalan Tekukur, Lorong Balam and Jalan Merak in Taman Million.
According to a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) spokesperson, the root of the flash flood problem in Taman Million was a rubbish-clogged drainage in the area.
“A lot of rubbish has gathered over time and disrupted the smooth flow of water there.
“A clean-up of the affected area from Nov 13 to 25 saw five tonnes of rubbish removed.
“At the same time, Alam Flora Sdn Bhd extracted water from the drainage to ensure rubbish could be removed easily.
“To date, the ongoing clean-up of the entire area is 70% complete, ” he said.
However, residents and business owners are gripped with fear whenever there is a downpour as in the past, rainwater had entered their houses and shops near the main road.
Some claim it is linked to the MRT construction that started in 2019.
Noodle seller Ng Kok Leong, 60, said water ponding and flash floods at the food court along Jalan Tiong, Taman Million, had affected his business.
“I have been selling noodles for over 50 years and flash floods rarely happened in the area until construction for the MRT station started.
“Now, whenever it rains, I cannot run my business as I have to spend time cleaning up the mess left by the flood.
“Lately, parts of the ground where our stalls are located have also sunk, ” he said, adding that his house at Jalan Tekukur was also affected by the floods.
Yong tau foo seller Chong Chee Heong, 35, said water ponding behind the food court had become more persistent.
“Even on a sunny day after a downpour, water would stagnate in the vacant land behind the food court.
“It has become a mosquito breeding ground and this can affect our business, ” he claimed.
A check at the site revealed that the drains along Jalan Tiong and Jalan Merak were clogged and there was stagnant water in the drains.
Mosquitoes were seen circling above an open box drain culvert along Jalan Merak.
Stationery shopowner Lim Chee Keong, 54, whose shop is on the corner of Jalan Merak and Jalan Tiong, said the floods had damaged some of the furniture in his shop.
“The metal folding door of the shop has also started to rust and I have claimed over RM10,000 in damages from my insurance company.
“Every time it rains, I have to move my products and prepare for the flash floods, ” he said.
Resident Ventrikumar N. Therukesparan, 42, said during a downpour, water would overflow from the drain across his house at Lorong Balam.
“The worst was on Nov 18, when water flowed into the house and rooms.
“We have raised this matter with MRT and DBKL but each claimed that the other party was responsible, ” he said.
Ventrikumar sent a letter to DBKL and MRT on Dec 1 and 3, respectively, on the plight of the residents facing the recent floods.
A spokesperson for MMC Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd (MGKT) — which is the underground works package contractor for MRT — said flooding in the area was the result of drains clogged with domestic waste.
“Firstly, water ponding was already occurring at that particular food court prior to 2019, when MRT construction works began.
“After the flash floods in August 2019, an inspection was carried out by MGKT, DBKL and Batu MP P. Prabakaran.
“DBKL acknowledged that flooding was taking place as the drains were clogged with domestic waste and cleared the rubbish away.
“As we continued to receive complaints from nearby residents on flash floods, our site teams conducted further inspections on drainage in the area
“In June, we discovered that the main drain pipe below Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah leading to Sungai Batu — the main water collection and outlet channel for all the drains in the affected area — was severely blocked with rubbish.
“Due to this blockage, the drains around the affected area experience a backflow of water, leading to flash floods.
“As part of its corporate social responsibility initiative, MGKT conducted drain-clearing works in the area using high-pressure water jets but were unable to clear the main blockage, which required special equipment used by DBKL or Alam Flora.
“We then met with DBKL and the Civil Engineering and Drainage Department in September and DBKL confirmed that the drainage system in the area would be upgraded, ” she said.
Taman Million is one of several areas in Kuala Lumpur affected by flash floods during a downpour.
In a previous StarMetro report, newly appointed Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah said in an exclusive interview that the city was experiencing extraordinary rainfall and DBKL had mapped out 53 vulnerable flood hotspots.
“Floods are the result of a series of Mother Nature and man-made occurrences that are further exacerbated by heavy rainfall.
“The long-term flood mitigation plan involves upgrading drainage systems and redesigning pump systems at construction sites.
“One of the projects in this masterplan is upgrading the culverts at the Taman Mutiara MRT site where DBKL will ensure better water flow, ” he said.
Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said in a StarMetro report on Nov 16 that the ministry was looking at several measures to address flash floods in the city, including carrying out flood mitigation works worth RM150mil, upgrading drainage systems and using camera surveillance to monitor water levels so that flood warnings could be issued.
Work to improve the 16 existing water retention ponds in the city was also ongoing, said Annuar.
Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh also called for the increase of the Sungai Keroh capacity to retain more water that flows from the river upstream, which is Sungai Toba, following several flash floods incidents in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 17. “If this is not done, it will cause a backflow during heavy rain as the river is incapable of retaining excess water from upstream, ” she said.
Prima Setapak is a prime example of a man-made occurrence that has contributed to flash floods.
Illegal structures at back lanes and covered drainage have made the cleaning of the drainage difficult, resulting in clogged drains and disruption in water flow.
Susie fish head noodle owner Susie Kang said flash floods last week damaged her outlet’s wooden flooring.
“We could not do business and had to spend money to repair the flooring, ” she said.
DBKL and Alam Flora conducted a site visit and told shopowners who had illegal structures extending to the back lanes to dismantle them.
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