BAGAN SERAI, April 27 – Tomorrow will see an announcement on whether Bukit Merah in Perak and Timah Tasoh in Perlis are declared disaster areas due to the hot, dry weather brought on by the El Nino phenomenon. The decision will be made by the high-level Cabinet Committee on Disasters that was set up today under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim.
He said the formation of the committee was announced at today’s Cabinet meeting. He said it will monitor all disasters in the country. He told this to reporters after a visit to the Bukit Merah Dam here Wednesday. Shahidan said reports and proposals on the situation in the two areas would be submitted to the committee for it to make the decision.
Elaborating on the situation in Bukit Merah, he said proposals to be discussed at the meeting included one on the construction of a second dam in Lembah Beriah and tube wells to aid agriculture. There was also a proposal for the construction of a tunnel from Sungai Perak to the dam as well as the deepening of the Bukit Merah lake, he said.
Shahidan advised all state governments to show concern for their water catchments and prohibit agricultural activity in the vicinity. Meanwhile, Meteorological Department director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail said cloud-seeding was conducted twice in the country since April 12.
She said each cloud-seeding operation took between one and two hours and conducting it for the whole country cost about RM100,000. In additional, Che Gayah also said that the current El Nino phenomenon was the worst experienced by the country since 1997-1998.