KEPALA BATAS, Nov 6 – The government has approved RM2 million to upgrade the drainage and irrigation system damaged by floods in Kulim. Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the approval was given at a briefing session on floods around the district presented by Kulim district officer Mohamad Che Nai today.
The briefing was held during Zahid’s visit to the underground water tunnel which burst, resulting in a section of the road near residential houses in Jalan Selasih 5 in Taman Selasih to sink after heavy rain on Saturday. Also present were Kedah Menteri Besar Ahmad Bashah and Kulim/ Bandar Baru MP Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir.
At the briefing, Mohamad said RM1.5 million was required to repair the tunnel and the canal damaged in the floods at Taman Angsana stretching to the pond area in Taman Semarak. Mohamad said an additional RM500,000 was needed to carry out a physical study on the tunnel. Zahid then spent about 10 minutes visiting flood victims at the relief centre in Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Salasih.
Earlier, he said he wanted 100% preparedness in the early evacuation of flood victims to face the second and third wave of weather change which is expected to persist until next February. Zahid said all data on weather forecast obtained from Meteorological Department would be fully utilised to enable all those to be affected to be evacuated by one week earlier before heavy rain or strong winds occur.
“What’s happening in Penang is a lesson, not aim at pointing fingers but when the Meteorological Department can provide weather forecast results much earlier, then efforts to evacuate can be made. All of this data is new technology and which, if it not utilised, then preparation cannot be done.
“As such, as the chairman of the national disaster management committee, I will use the method of the Kemamam Floods Management Plan as it predicts a week before it occurs. The physical evacuation is done three days before it occurs,” he told a media conference after visiting the temporary relief centre in Sekolah Kebangsaan Bertam Indah, in Kepala Batas.
Commenting on his visit to flood affected areas in Penang, he said facilities and assistance for the flood victims in the state was on the scale of seven out of 10 and the federal government would ensure all essential items and equipment could be channelled immediately.
He also instructed the immediate registration of the evacuated flood victims be completed by 10am tomorrow so there are no delays in financial aid as happened previously. Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Penang DAP government would give full cooperation to the federal government effort to ensure everyone affected received the necessary relief. — Bernama