Sri Muda residents still haunted by December floods

Siti Aisyah outside her house after the floods last year.

KLANG: Victims of the Taman Sri Muda flash floods are still struggling to get back on their feet six months after the December 2021 deluge.

Siti Aisyah Abdullah, 62, said in addition to living a minimalist life after losing all her belongings, she was plagued with fear and anxiety whenever it rained.

Siti Aisyah claimed she was frightened because water still rose in clogged drains, a problem the relevant authorities were allegedly not addressing.

“It rained a few days ago and water started rising and I immediately started to panic.

“The floods that destroyed my home traumatised me as I witnessed a boat with a family of five capsizing in front of my house and the children being washed away," she said here on Thursday (June 30).

Siti Aisyah, one of 50 residents who have filed a suit against various authorities and agencies for negligence and breach of statutory duties, added that the disaster would always haunt her.

She said it was crucial to sue the authorities because apart from some work to deepen the river, nothing much was being done to prevent further flooding.

“Like I said, water still rises when it rains," she added.

The 50 plaintiffs have named the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) director-general, the Irrigation and Drainage Department director-general, the Shah Alam City Council, the Malaysian Meteorological Department’s director-general, KDEB Waste Management Sdn Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and two ministers in their suit.

The ministers are a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and the Environment and Water Minister.

Both the Federal and Selangor governments have also been named in the suit.

Another plaintiff, Amy How, said she strongly felt the defendants must be taken to court for something concrete to be done to prevent a repeat of the severe flooding.

“Not enough mitigation work has been carried out since the incident and this is very worrying," alleged How, 59, who lives in a single-storey terrace house in Taman Sri Muda.

She said when the flood waters started rising, she and her husband Ronny Ting, a stroke survivor, struggled to get to a nearby shophouse where they were allowed to stay upstairs.

How said she had tried to call out to their neighbour, a disabled man and his niece who had a learning disability, to come out of their house but the duo remained inside.

“Both of them died inside the house and I am still traumatised by that," she added.

The 50 plaintiffs are seeking general and aggravated damages to be ascertained by the court for pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress.

The suit, filed by Messrs Tanes, Khoo & Paulraj at the Shah Alam High Court recently, is also seeking RM3.8mil in special damages.

Lawyers M. Kula Segaran, who is Ipoh Barat MP, Datuk Gurdial Singh Nijhar, V. Vemal Arasan and James Joshua Paulraj are appearing pro bono for the defendants.

When contacted, Paulraj said the team of lawyers had met the plaintiffs soon after the flooding but it took time to prepare the statement of claim as experts had to be roped in to verify their (plaintiffs’) claims and narration of the incident.

“The plaintiffs’ main consideration in filing the suit is to ensure that such flooding will not happen again and they want steps to be initiated to ensure this," said Paulraj.

He added that case management has been fixed for July 25.

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