Saturday, September 22, 2007

Flood of money

The Malaysian government is coming up with another big plan to resolve a perennial problem in the southern state of Johor -- flooding. This time, a staggering sum of RM6 billion has been set aside to come up with a comprehensive flood mitigation system.

According to the abridged Bernama report below, the money will be used for digging of drains, deepening of rivers, repair of river banks, building of river bunds, and repair of bridges and estate roads.

It sounds like a lot of money for fancy longkangs and riverbanks. The amount of RM6 billion is more expensive than even the high-tech flood mitigation Smart tunnel system in KL, is equivalent to the cost of building the sprawling LRT network in the Malaysian capital and six times more expensive than the aborted plan to build an overhead bridge to replace the ageing causeway.

Somehow, I suspect that the latest plan, if it is ever implemented, will not be comprehensive enough to resolve the flooding woes in the state. They are still not tackling one serious problem -- cleaning up the clogged and dirty Straits of Johor separating Malaysia and Singapore -- as part of the so-called comprehensive flood mitigation system.

Johor to get $2.6b flood-control system

JOHOR BARU - JOHOR is to have a comprehensive flood mitigation system estimated to cost RM6 billion (S$2.6 billion).

The government has appointed consultants to carry out a study on the measures needed. The project aims to prevent a recurrence of the big floods that hit the state late last year and early this year. More than 100,000 people had to be evacuated and 17 lives were lost during the floods, which were the worst in 100 years.

The local consultants will conduct studies on the six main river basins in Johor before submitting a comprehensive plan for each of the areas. The basins are at Sungai Batu Pahat, Sungai Mersing, Sungai Muar, Sungai Johor, Kluang town and rivers in the Iskandar Development Region.

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