Tuesday, December 30, 2014

How Najib is tackling the flood problem


Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is being criticised for not attending to the flood problem. I really do not know what they expect from the Prime Minister and in what way they want him to ‘attend’ to the flood.

The Malaysian mentality is that when there is a flood then the political leaders, especially the Prime Minister, must wade in the flood with the water up to their stomach, or at least above the knees. Then they would be considered as doing something.

First of all, the floodwater is contaminated with sewage. In fact, the Health Ministry has advised children to not play or swim in the flood because there is a danger they may catch diseases. Hence is it advisable for Malaysia’s CEO to ‘play’ in the floodwaters?

Say Najib does what these people want -- he wades in the flood with the water up to his chest. In what way is he taking care of the problem other than having a look-see? He can see the flood without having to stand in the dirty water.

What needs to be done is to come out with a long-term solution on how to reduce the flood problem. And I say reduce and not eliminate because even in advanced countries it floods and this is a natural phenomena or act of nature. And they do not even have monsoon rains like Malaysia does.

For example, Terengganu has always been flooding since the beginning of time. (And in Kelantan they take floods as a natural and annual affair that they even once organised a Pesta Banjir). However, since they built the Kenyir Dam in Terengganu, the floods got worse. And this is because the flow of the Terengganu River slowed down so the silt could not be pushed out to sea and instead accumulated at the river mouth.

Because of the accumulation of silt at the river mouth, the floodwater could not be pushed out to sea and instead flowed inland to flood the towns and settlements along the river. Hence the way to solve this was to dredge the river mouth to clear the blockage.

This was the long-term solution that Terengganu adopted but it was still only temporary because after some time the silt built up again and they had to dredge the river mouth again.

That was how Terengganu fought the flood, not by having the Prime Minister wade through the flood and risk catching some sort of disease from the contaminated floodwater.

Floods happen all over the world, even in the UK and the US (and the UK recently saw one of its worst floods in history). But the people do not scream for the Prime Minister or President to wade through the flood. They ask for a viable flood mitigation program to be implemented.

Hence the Prime Minister’s job is to get the department in charge to come out with a plan on how floods can be reduced. It is going to cost a lot of money, which the taxpayers would have to pay for.

And this is what the Prime Minister is presently doing, not to wade through the flood to ‘show concern’ and just to please the voters that he is ‘doing something’ by playing in the floodwaters.

No comments: