MPs demand answers on flash floods in city but left high and dry by govt

The emergency motion on the recent floods in Kuala Lumpur seems to have drowned the hopes of lawmakers who were looking for answers and assurances that the nation’s capital would not be crippled by another deluge.

The various MPs, namely Tan Kok Wai (PH-Cheras), Gobind Singh Deo (PH-Puchong), Fahmi Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai), Teresa Kok (PH-Seputeh), Hannah Yeoh (PH-Segambut) and Lim Lip Eng (PH-Kepong) had raised questions, hoping to get answers over the long-standing issue.

Flash floods continue to haunt city dwellers as inundated homes, offices and parking bays have resulted in millions, if not billions of ringgit in losses, over the years. On March 8, nine locations in the city were hit by flash floods following exceptionally heavy rain – barely three months after several parts of the Klang Valley were hit by massive floods.

This has been a regular occurrence, despite the many assurances and budget allocations by the authorities to address the problem.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datin Mastura Yazid, Deputy Environment and Water Minister Datuk Mansor Othman, and Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Muttalib read out statistics and figures regarding the floods, but did little to satisfy their fellow elected representatives.

Ismail also narrowed in on the city’s drainage system, the need for more awareness campaigns, and the development of an early warning system.

However, the MPs argued that none of these provided a viable, workable solution to ensure that the city would not be hit by floods in the future.

Yeoh provided two suggestions.

“When there’s a downpour in Kuala Lumpur, there’s not only flash floods, but also landslides. City Hall needs to be given a bigger budget and more manpower to address these issues quickly,” said Yeoh.

She also hoped that City Hall respected the local plan that had been gazetted, and to not entertain requests for new developments while waiting for the outcome of the study pertaining to flash floods in the city.

Kok was more pointed in her rebuke. “All I’m hearing are reports. What is the way forward?”

Gobind, at the start of the motion, had asked what the government’s plan was to address this issue.

Towards the end of the emergency motion, a visibly irritated Gobind reiterated his stand as Ismail was delivering his speech.

“Our question in this glorious hall is, what steps are being taken to address this problem, so that it will not happen again?” Gobind asked.

“We all know that the rainfall is different than it was before. Every time it gets cloudy, people get uneasy, wondering if it will flood again.”

Gobind told Ismail to answer the questions, as his three other colleagues had failed to do so. Ismail retorted that he was getting there.

“It’s as though this government doesn’t know what the problem is. What’s the use of coming to the Dewan (Rakyat) without providing any answers?”

As things got heated between Gobind and Ismail, deputy Dewan Rakyat speaker, Datuk Ramli Mohd Nor, reminded the MPs that their time was up.

“I’m sorry Mr Speaker, but the deputy minister (Ismail) was saved by the Speaker. If not, I doubt he can answer (the questions). This shows the failure of the government in addressing this issue,” Gobind said.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department had warned of rain and thunderstorms in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, today and tomorrow.

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