The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) negates the claims by some quarters that extraordinary rains were the cause of the massive floods that hit several states recently.
Putting the blame on rain, which is a natural phenomenon, has resulted in the problem of floods not being addressed effectively and has now become more serious.
Therefore, CAP urges the government to take action in identifying the real cause of the floods in the country and no longer give the excuse that extraordinary rain is the cause of the problem.
Over the past 10 years, CAP’s survey has found that uncontrolled logging activities, sand mining and widespread deforestation, as well as the implementation of poorly planned development projects, were among the main causes of floods.
Many catchment areas and natural water reservoirs including peat swamps in the country have been threatened and there have been erosion and mud deposits that have affected the drainage system, rivers, lakes and dams.
Currently, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak and Johor are facing serious flood threats. In addition to properties, crops and basic amenities were damaged and destroyed. The population in the flooded areas have been severely affected.
The water level in the main rivers of the states which have increased dramatically has overflowed and there are areas where floods have never happened before but now are experiencing this problem.
The government should not only take action to overcome the ongoing problems but should pay particular attention to the contributing factors of floods by ensuring good physical planning and strictly enforcing existing laws and regulations.
CAP regrets that although the threat of floods is becoming more serious in this country, the government has failed to address the problem effectively.
Integrated action between all departments and agencies involved needs to be implemented immediately. The government needs to take into account the impacts of climate change too as it will bring about an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as storms and floods.
CAP is worried that if floods such as this continue it will not only affect the country’s economy but also the agricultural sector which is the lifeblood of the people. We also demand stern action to be taken against officials and politicians involved in corruption and abuse of power in approving activities that damage hills, water catchments and rivers.
Media Statement, 13 January 2021