KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim has given assurance that the government’s efforts to tackle flash floods in the national capital are not just empty promises.
He told Malaysiakini today that there are plans for the short, medium and long term.
For the short term, he said the government will be pumping water, monitoring affected areas, and placing sandbag as barriers at places where rivers overflow.
These efforts are already in place and he invited government critics like Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng to see them for themselves.
“I invite Lim to visit all the places where we have erected sandbag [barriers], then he can speak [critically],” Shahidan was quoted saying.
The Umno politician also denied saying last Thursday that a flood tunnel plan was being studied, saying that Lim should read his statements carefully first.
He added that he would invite other MPs who also doubted the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Federal Territories Ministry’s efforts to address flash floods.
Apart from the groundwater storage tunnel, Shahidan said that for the medium term the government would be building retention ponds.
He also told the news portal that flash floods in Kuala Lumpur occurred when Pakatan Harapan was the government, but the current plans to solve the problem were introduced under his watch and that he kept an eye on progress regularly.
Flash floods have been occurring in Kuala Lumpur with increasing frequency since last December.
Lim had been among the vocal critics who panned Shahidan and the government, saying their promised solutions to flash floods had a tendency of being perpetually under study rather than being implemented.
The DAP lawmaker was referring to Shahidan’s statement last Thursday that DBKL will carry out a feasibility study on the location and specifications for a high-capacity groundwater storage tunnel, which will be completed in three months.
The tunnel itself is expected to take three to five years to build and is one of the long-term solutions in place, the minister said.