KUALA LUMPUR - Federal and state agencies are ready for disaster relief operations should heavy rains cause massive floods, especially in the northern states.
Apart from damage to property, five lives have been lost - four of them children - since the heavy rains have lashed the states in the north and central regions the last few days.
Those travelling home today on the highways or trunk roads should be more cautious as there will be more traffic on the thoroughfares after the long weekend.
Malaysia National Security Council (NSC) disaster management division under-secretary Mohd Ariff Baharom said past disasters had served as reminders for the need to be alert for all eventualities.
He said NSC was ready to coordinate operations should the need arise.
All disaster relief is currently managed directly by NSC, which will issue an order termed Directive 20 to coordinate all agencies. These include the Civil Defence, Fire and Rescue and Social Welfare departments.
In Johor Baru, environment and health exco member Datuk Ayub Rahmat said flood-monitoring committees in Johor had been set up.
"We are ever ready to face flood occurrences in view of unpredictable weather as the monsoon season approaches," he said.
He said the best way was to be prepared all-year-round to handle any "surprises".
"For example, we were prepared for the expected hot spell from July until September but the weather has been good to us so far," he added.
Ayub said the state was also working closely with the Meteorological Department and NSC for weather forecast and logistics each week.
"Johor is expecting isolated showers in a few districts, strong winds especially at coastal areas and choppy seas in the coming week, but either way, we are prepared," he said.
Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) corporate and public relations director Abdul Aziz Ithnin said its officers in charge of pump houses were also on stand-by.
He urged the public, including commercial lot owners, to ensure the drains in the front and at the back of their premises were clear.
Central Johor Baru Municipal Council president Sallehuddin Hassan said councillors had been told to make clearing clogged drains a priority.