ALOR SETAR, Dec 29 – For Kedah, 2014 has been a year of unpredictable weather and unexpected tornado-like storms in several areas in the state. Previously, Kedah and other parts of Malaysia had always been considered safe and free from tornadoes but this year, Kedah was struck by at least four tornado-like storms.
The first incident which hit Kampung Alor Besar, Pendang on Oct 14 severely damaged 11 houses and a school. The second incident on Oct 31 struck five areas in Kota Setar district, namely Kampung Mergong Hilir, Kampung Batin, Kampung Sungai Baru, Taman Inang and Taman Mergong Jaya, badly damaging 71 houses and a rural clinic.
On Nov 2, at least 13 houses in Taman Wira Mergong, here, were damaged by by stromg winds and a tornado-like storm.. The fourth incident which occurred in Kampung Sungai Nonang, Simpang Empat, near here, on Nov 12 damaged 19 houses.
These stormy happenings not only shocked the people, but the authorities, especially the Malaysian Meteorological Department, too were puzzled by the tornado-like phenomena. Wind storms occurring in the state, especially in Pendang district, at the end of the year may be considered normal, but when destructive tornado-like storms occurred, the matter was considered serious.
In terms of assistance, victims affected by such natural disasters received immediate aid and relief from the federal and state governments as well as non-government organisations. Earlier this year, the people in Kedah were amazed by a strange weather condition when the weather experienced was akin to highland weather and the temperature at midday was below 20 degrees Celsius.
However, the situation changed in mid-February when it became extremely warm for a considerably long period. In September, heavy rain caused flooding including in areas which had never been flooded before and this was coupled with several tornado-like storms.
With regard to politics and the state’s administration, the people in the state seemed to be increasingly comfortable with the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration led by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir who helmed the state after the 13th general election last year.
In an effort to improve Kedah’s per capita income, which is second at the bottom before Kelantan, the state government was forced to devise out-of-the-box plans to address the problems faced by the state.
In the Kedah Budget 2015, the state government proposed six major projects in the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (RMK-11) capable of spurring development and progress in the state. The projects are the Kulim International Airport (KXP), Kedah Aerocity, Sungai Petani-Kedah Inner Expressway (SPIKE), Kedah Rubber City, Kedah Science and Technology Park and Kedah Medical Science City.