Thousands of Klang Valley residents would still be talking about the heavy rain yesterday. Hundreds of them would not know how to contemplate the thousands of ringgits each had lost when their vehicles were submerged in flash floods yesterday. It all took just less than 30 minutes of heavy downpour before the major roads in the Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya were clogged up with water.
And these flash floods are becoming a common occurence - Why? It is not like Malaysia just started to have rain yesterday.
A few days ago, even Shah Alam and Putrajaya were badly affected, despite these being supposedly ‘well-planned’ cities.
There is no insurance for vehicles that are spoilt in flash floods as they are written off as destroyed in natural disasters and sold for scrap, unless someone decided to live with the mud-smell for the rest of the vehicles’ life.
The newer vehicles would be worse affected as circuit boards and chips would have been completely destroyed and trying to replace them would cost nearly as much as buying a whole new car.
There is also no compensation for commuters who lost hours waiting for their public buses which were caught in the floods while getting wet, not to mention the productive hours lost when they get sick and take medical leave from work.
In Budget 2016 alone, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced RM60 million for the Social Amenities Programme for drainage projects to mitigate floods.
“Emphasis will be given to states affected by floods such as Kelantan, Kedah, Terengganu, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak,” said Najib.
While these are very commendable, these are all initiatives taken by the government after these states were submerged completely in massive floods which cost lives and hundreds of millions of ringgit.
And while the government is investing money into improving drainage and irrigation in these states, the government should also look at cities which form the face of Malaysia to the world.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of the country and Putrajaya is the administrative capital of Malaysia - of the government cannot even mitigate the flash floods that occur on the roads of these cities, what does that tell us?
Malaysia has the same weather day in day out - it is rain and sun and sun and rain. There is no snow, there is no summer, there is no autumn and there is no spring. We have rain throughout the year. It is amazing to find that Malaysian city planners still do not understand the weather, as they do not seem to give much thought to proper drainage and irrigation infrastructure and methods when they build cities.
If the authorities are going to be defensive and say that development in the Klang Valley is very haphazard due to it also being old by Malaysian standards, why is it then that Shah Alam and Putrajaya get flooded?
Dealing with flash floods is basic common sense - the water let out are not enough and in the right places. There is also no continuous cleaning up of the dirt-traps. Malaysian roads have trees, and trees drop leaves and this is one main cause of the water let-outs being clogged up.
The city councils should be taken to task for cleaning up but it is the federal government which oversees the councils which should be given a knock on its head for not ensuring the city councils are doing their work.
Millions ringgit of taxpayer’s money is being channelled to these councils and yet we can't contain these flash floods every time when there is a heavy downpour. It looks like these millions are obviously going for some other things that seem more important to the councils such as obscure objects in the middle of roundabouts, decorative street lights and shoddy road repair.
For heaven’s sake, stop all these study trips to other countries to see how their cities are built. Sit at home and study how Malaysian weather works and how we can come up with proper solutions for problems which are our own.