Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urged the relevant authorities to investigate the root cause of overflow of river water after a heavy downpour in several areas around Seberang Perai Selatan on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Appropriate measures including upgrading drainage systems should be taken to address the problem of overflowing water from entering residential areas, villages, business premises and other areas.
Detailed studies have to be conducted by the authorities because the drainage problem has caused water overflow and caused damage to property, plants, livestock and pets.
According to members of public met by SAM, similar water overflow had happened in 1997 but the situation was slightly different because the colour of water this time was yellowish and muddy
Several residents surrounding the village of Relau, Kedah whom SAM met claimed that the cause of the problem could be related to tree felling activities at the nearby hills including Bukit Relau close to the village.
The recent flash flood event has raised concerns of a large number of affected residents here and many have questioned the efficiency of the drainage system.
In addition, the condition of the river bank of the Jawi River needs to be checked as the overflow of water stems from the relatively low river bank. Due to this, residents of about 10 villages and three housing estates have become victims of the flash floods caused by overflow of water from the river.
Among the affected villages are Kampung Wellessley, Kampung Sethu, Kampung Titi Hitam, Kampung Pengkalan, Kampung Masjid Baru, Kampung Permatang Ara, Kampung Sungai Baong, Kampung Sungai Duri in the District of Seberang Perai Selatan, Penang and Kampung Relau in District of Bandar Baharu, Kedah. Besides this, several housing estates were also affected, namely Taman Desa Jawi, Taman Sungai Duri Indah and Taman Sungai Duri Permai.
SAM’s survey at the bund road of Sungai Jawi, found that some areas were clearly impacted by the overflowing water from the river. If observed from a distance the bank of the bund is somewhat lower than the rest. Additionally, it also looks like one part of the bund had slightly collapsed. The affected bund must be repaired immediately. Although it seems like a small problem now, but over time it will become severe if not dealt with immediately.
In view of this, SAM urges the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS), the Public Works Department (JKR), the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) and the State Government to take urgent measures to tackle the problem so that the river, drainage system and drains are functioning well.
SAM hopes that the responsible parties will be more attentive and take effective measures to ensure the well-being of the people and the environment. We do not want a repeat of flash floods or overflows in the future.
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS