KOTA TINGGI, Jan 9 — The exceptionally heavy or extraordinary rainfall on January 4 and Jan 5, which exceeded the monthly rainfall, has been identified as the cause of floods in the district since Sunday (January 7).
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the National Disaster Management Committee chairman, said the situation was made worse by high tides, which resulted in the floodwaters not being able to flow into the rivers and subsequently into the sea.
He, however, praised the state government for taking proactive measures by making preparations three days earlier based on the weather forecast issued by the Malaysian Meteorological Department.
“What is important is that the state government had coordinated its actions through the Flood Operations Control Centre (PKOB) at the state and district levels before the downpour occurred,” he told a media conference after visiting the flood evacuees at the temporary relief centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Kota Jaya here today.
Also present were Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.
Ahmad Zahid said the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) had also channelled RM50 million in monetary aid for flood victims to the state government and hoped that it could be distributed soonest possible.
“I want this money to be distributed before the victims return to their homes so that it can be used to purchase necessities,” he said.
In addition, he said the state government, through Onn Hafiz, had proposed the construction of a flood mitigation project at the Sungai Johor basin, which is a settlement for about 10,000 people.
He said he would take up the proposal with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for a detailed study.
Meanwhile, the Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament has instructed Nadma to purchase 20 units of mobile water filtration system produced by Sirim Bhd to be used in areas where clean water supply has been cut off due to floods.
“Today, we received three units of this water filtration system and, since this product is no longer a prototype but has been commercialised, I want Nadma to buy 20 units to be used, if necessary, and as spare,” he said.
He also wants Sirim to produce high-powered water pumps to be used by the authorities to channel floodwaters into rivers to overcome the issue of stagnant floodwaters that occur frequently here.
Ahmad Zahid added that although the government had approved the purchase of high-powered water pumps by Nadma for use in Kota Tinggi, Segamat and Batu Pahat last year, the pumps have yet to arrive as the purchase was done through procurement procedures, in addition to them being bought from overseas.
“By producing these pumps, we hope to get hold of them immediately and the purchase need not have to go through the usual procurement procedure, which involves agents and commercial parties… the purchase can be made directly with the producer (SIRIM),” he said.
The deputy prime minister also said that the Malaysian Armed Forces had mobilised its assets and personnel from the artillery and infantry battalions to assist flood victims here and also help out post-floods.
As of 6pm today, a total of 7,909 flood evacuees from 2,192 families are still housed in 53 temporary relief centres in the six affected states. — Bernama