A HEAVY downfall yesterday morning in the southeastern part of Penang Island caused severe flash floods in Bayan Baru and the surrounding areas.
This is not the first such occurrence. It has been happening for as long as these places were ‘developed’.
The Batu Maung assemblyman seems to have noticed this only after the latest flash food yesterday. He issued a press statement hoping government departments and agencies will “turun padang” without delay to identify the causes of the floods, like clogged drains.
He also expressed concern about “over development” as a possible cause. Then he went on to suggest to the state government, particularly the Town and Country Planning Department, the Penang Island City Council, the Drainage and Irrigation Department and the Public Works Department to identify whether “pembangunan pesat” is the cause and to review development plans for the future.
I am amused by the statement. Why?
Abdul Halim Hussain is not an ordinary assemblyman, a backbencher. He is an exco member and therefore part of the very same government that he is addressing through his press statement.
This is very odd.
There are exco members in charge of all the government departments and agencies that he mentions.
Since he is in the exco too, this is where he should be raising the flash flood issue. Then each of the others have to pull up the heads of the departments and agencies under their portfolios and work with them to find solutions.
So, what amuses me is why does a member of the government have to address his own government through the press and not face-to-face in exco meetings?
If he has brought this matter up during assembly sittings and in exco meetings, and nothing has been done, he should be bold enough to say so.
In that case he should take them to task. Are the exco members unable to work together to resolve problems like this because they are not all from the same political party?
Or do they talk and agree only about mega projects?
I don’t think any of the government agencies and departments he mentioned are going to do any of the things he is asking them to do. If they don’t, what will he do next?
He mentions that flood mitigation projects are underway in Bayan Baru and Batu Maung. Can they completely prevent the flooding or will they at best only reduce the impact of the flooding? Yet to be seen.
So, would it be wrong to think that the press statement is more to placate the voters and get into their good books in view of the next general election, than to really address the issue of over and haphazard development?
What will be the long-term negative effects of the mega projects that the state is hell bent on proceeding with against expert advice? – June 11, 2021.
* Ravinder Singh reads The Malaysian Insight.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.