IPOH, April 24 – The Perak Government may request the Federal Government to declare Bukit Merah, about 90km from here, a disaster zone as the Tasik Bukit Merah Dam water level dwindles due to hot and dry weather caused by El Nino. Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said if the Bukit Merah area was declared disaster zone, the National Security Council (NSC) could help the affected farmers, especially around Kerian to assess the losses.
“In case (a state of emergency) is declared, it does not mean that the area is closed but the government will make an assessment in terms of losses and so on, especially for affected farmers,” he told reporters after attending the state-level 2016 Vaisakhi Open House celebrations here today.
Zambry urged the relevant authorities, including the agriculture and agro-based industry ministry to view the situation in the area as critical since it involved an area of 5,000 hectares of paddy crop. He said it is not just about the lake area but also involves the farmers in the area, which will certainly affect the granary in Perak and the country.
However, Zambry said the department would continue to monitor the situation in Bukit Merah, including the distribution of rainfall from time to time. He said he have asked State Secretary, Datuk Seri Abdul Puhat Mat Nayan to take the next step for the declaration if the situation gets critical.
Meanwhile, Perak Public Utilities, Infrastructure, Energy and Water Committee chairman, Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharudin said the water level at the Tasik Bukit Merah Dam this morning rose 0.003 metre (0.01 feet) to 6,096 metres (20 feet) as compared to 6,065 metres (19.9 feet) recorded on Saturday. When contacted by Bernama yesterday, he said the rise in water level was due to rain in the catchment area yesterday and hoped the rain would continue.