MELAKA, Jan 5 – Only one barrage gate of the Melaka River has been functioning while three other gates have not been working in the last few years, said Kota Melaka Member of Parliament Khoo Poay Tiong on Tuesday.
Attributing poor maintenance and upgrading of the irrigation and drainage systems as among the contributing reasons for the flash floods in Melaka, Khoo said the case of the barrage gates under repair for years was only an example of how the government had failed to identify the root cause of floods in the city and take the necessary steps to resolve them.
While commending Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who announced an additional RM8 million for short term flood mitigation projects for Melaka during his visit to the temporary flood relief centres in Durian Tunggal and Alor Gajah on Tuesday, Khoo however said the projects must be carried out fast and effectively.
He said the allocation announced by the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali for flood mitigation projects in the 2022 state budget amounting to RM931 million should be also implemented expeditiously.
Flash floods in Melaka are not new and they have been taking place over the years during the monsoon period from November to March.
Khoo said since he became a state assemblyman in 2008, flash floods have been occurring almost every year in several hotspots whenever it rained heavily.
“If flash floods happen regularly in the same place, it can no longer be a disaster alone. It also reflects the failure of the government to identify the cause of the problem and take effective action.
“The Prime Minister and Chief Minister must take the opportunity now to know the causes of the flash floods and state their commitment to resolve the matter holistically.”
Khoo said in 2019, former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had approved RM10 million to repair the said barrage gates after a Pakatan Harapan MP had raised the matter with him.
However, when the transition of government took place, the project was never carried out till today.
The people will now wait to see if the project will be completed by April 2022 as promised by the Chief Minister, he said.
Khoo also pointed out that major drains and rivers polluted and clogged with rubbish also worsened the flood situation.
The authorities must ensure regular cleaning of the drainage systems while the public must also play their part to keep the systems clean, Khoo said, adding that the federal government and state governments must work together to tackle the flood problem.