THE Penang government has been urged to expedite implementation of flood mitigation plans and improve the drainage system in the southwest part of the island based on the Drainage and Irrigation Department’s (DID) recommendations.
Bayan Baru MCA coordinator Saw Yee Fung hoped that the state government would investigate and make public the cause of the flash floods on the island.
“They should clearly explain when the Bayan Baru flood mitigation project, which costs RM20.1mil, will be fully functional.
“We want to know if the project has been completed and if so, why has it not worked as a comprehensive solution to the flood problem?
“I hope the state will not make excuses and blame the rain,” she said in a statement.
Referring to the flash floods in the southwest side of the island on Sept 24, Saw said the deluge after just half an hour of downpour indicated failure to undertake flood mitigation measures.
“Areas such as Bayan Lepas, Bayan Baru and Bukit Jambul were flooded after half an hour of rain.
“Several parts of the Penang International Airport were inundated.
“According to a DID report in 2021, 30 flood incidents occurred in five districts in Penang last year.
“The southwest part of the island accounted for 13 cases, while there were eight in south Seberang Prai, and five in the northeast part of the island.
“Central and north Seberang Prai were hit twice last year,” she noted.
Saw said this was not the first time that Jalan Mahsuri in Bayan Baru had been flooded.
“According to the DID report, flash floods struck the area on June 10 and 15 last year.
“Residents have reported that sections of roads have flooded more frequently this year.
“The DID report clearly stated that land development and inadequate drainage system for the increased rainfall were reasons that contributed to the flash floods,” she added.
Based on state flood mitigation committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari’s announcement in March that the Bayan Baru flood mitigation project was about to be completed, Saw said she had hoped that the state government would share details on when it would be completed.
“Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow listed anti-flood initiatives in June and claimed that once Penang’s eight major high-efficiency flood mitigation projects were completed, flood hotspots would be expected to be reduced by 80%.
“Yet the section of the island housing heavy industries is getting flooded, with residents reporting that the frequency is increasing and even affecting roads leading to the airport.
“If the drainage system cannot withstand half an hour of rain, then it is a disaster,” she said.