The people in KL dread heavy rain especially in the early morning or in the evening. Every time when there is a downpour of more than 1-2 hours, it causes havoc due to the massive traffic jam. Flash flood is a perennial problem in the city of KL. Every time when there is a flood, the blame game starts. In the recent incident, apparently the electricity cables inside the pump house were stolen, causing the pump not to function and hence, flood in the affected areas.
KL is the premier city of Malaysia. It probably received more tourists than any other town in Malaysia. Johor Bahru may be an important entry point for foreign tourists but most of the tourists are only using JB as an entry and transit point in other words, day-tripper. In Kuala Lumpur, the tourists spend at least a night or two before moving to other places. It does not reflect very well that a modern city is saddled with flash flood. The Sg. Besi SMART tunnel and storm water management do alleviate flash flood in certain parts of the city. However, for the rest of the city folks, we just hate the rain that comes in the morning and in the evening when traffic jam becomes inevitable.
Every time when there is a flash flood in the city, one can imagine that a lot of people will be cursing the city council. The city council should come out with a flood mitigation program for the city. This will be a long-term plan that requires studies so that a total flood mitigation program for the city can be drawn out. Normally, when flood mitigation work is undertaken, it will cause traffic jam. Hence, it has to be done in phases and since it is done in phases, the financial burden on the city hall will not be great. City hall should give top priority to flood mitigation. While landscaping is important, I see no reason why flood mitigation in KL has never been the top priority in any of the city hall’s mayor. City hall seems to spend a lot of time and wasting a lot of money doing unnecessary landscaping.
My former kawasan was known as Bandar Penggaram and it is well known for its flash flood and often been given the nickname of Bandar Tenggelam. When I was an EXCO, I managed to get funding, both from the state and the federal government, amounting to RM70 million. This was used to launch a comprehensive flood mitigation project in Batu Pahat that stretches from 1995 until 2004. Since then, we have resolved about 90 percent of the flood problem in the town of Batu Pahat. When Johor faces its massive flood in 2007, the Batu Pahat township was spared. Maintenance of the drain is important if we want to ensure that the water flow is not affected. There is a tendency for Malaysians to throw anything into the drain and to regard drains as their dustbin. This often causes blockage of the drain and minor flood.