Penang government considering freeze of development projects in Sungai Relau, Sungai Ara

Georgetown – The Penang government is considering a freeze of new development projects in Sungai Relau and Sungai Ara area until a detailed study on storm water management is carried out.

This comes on the heels of flash floods hitting many parts of Bayan Baru and Relau here on Wednesday, the worst in recent years, making many roads impassable to light vehicles.

State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the developer of a river diversion project had been ordered to take immediate measures to desilt Sungai Relau.

“The Drainage and Irrigation Department, the Public Works Department and the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) have ordered the developer to desilt the river.

“We have completed the site visit. We are thinking of freezing new applications for development projects in the area until a detailed study on the drainage system and water storm management is laid out.

“Apart from that, the developer will also be getting Telekom Malaysia Bhd to complete their cable works on the new bridge at Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim. Once completed, I hope flash floods will not occur,” he said, adding that the bridge is expected to reduce traffic congestion in Bayan Baru and Relau.

The flash floods, caused by a downpour which started at 11am, some low-lying areas were knee-deep in water, resulting in many stalled vehicles.

The floods also caused a massive traffic snarl in the Bayan Baru township, home to one of the most densely-populated areas on the island.

Other areas such as Sungai Ara and Paya Terubong were not spared as well.

Meanwhile, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) said the drainage system in these areas should be looked into to prevent flash floods in the future.

Its president S.M. Mohamed Idris urged the state government to stop high rise developments on the island, which was also believed to have aggravated the flash floods.

“Enough damage is done in the island. I do not think the island can cope with more developments.

“Those times Relau and Bayan Baru area had very poor drainage system and for some time it was under control.

“Once developments take place, it causes flash floods similar to the challenges faced by Penangites back in the 90s,” he said when contacted.

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