Johor Baru folk want solution to city's flood problem

JOHOR BARU: Several parts of the city were under water when flash floods hit the state capital after a downpour which started around noon.

Hiap Joo Bakery and Biscuits Factory person-in-charge of operations James Lim said flood water started to enter the family’s bakery at around 12.30pm.

"We were busy baking our banana cakes and attending to customers when our place was hit by a flash flood," he said when contacted.

Lim, 42, said this was the second time this year a flash flood hit Jalan Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Street in the old parts of Johor Baru city, the last was in May this year.

The street is rich in heritage with shops and cafes operating at pre-war shop houses including Hiap Joo Bakery famous for its wood-fired wall oven banana cakes and savoury buns since 1919.

"We hope the authorities can address the issue. It normally floods every time it rains for more than one hour," he said.

Jalan Abdul Samad resident Rahman Abdullah, 60, said he and his family members were caught in the traffic congestion for about 30 minutes in downtown Johor Baru.

"We were lucky as our car was able to go through Jalan Wong Ah Fook which was under water," he said.

Rahman said apart from posing risk to motorists, the frequent flash floods also painted a bad image of Johor Baru city which is the main entry point from Singapore.

Green Earth Society Johor president P. Sivakumar urged the state government to address the drainage system in the city centre.

"The authorities need to start looking at what is wrong with our drainage and irrigation system and why flash floods always hit areas in Johor Baru during hour-long downpours," he said.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi in his Facebook posting said the state government and Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) would look at immediate solutions to address the issue and prevent flash floods from happening again in the future.

Meanwhile, Johor Malaysia Civil Defence Force (APM) spoke man in a statement said the flash floods happened due to the high tide which occurred at about 1.42pm with the downpour happening at noon.

The flooded roads were Jalan Yahya Awal, Jalan Ayer Molek and Jalan Wong Ah Fook in downtown Johor Baru.

The downpour also caused flooding at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) at Jalan Persiaran Abu Bakar Sultan fronting the Lido Beach.

The flooding resulted in some vehicles finding it difficult to enter the hospital.

The flood caused road users to take to social media sharing images of the incident.

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