Govt to study Sarawak's flood mitigation

Malaysia's Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he would head the committee tackling the rise in living costs.

KUCHING - The Federal Govern­ment will look into adopting Sarawak's flood management practices in other states.

Citing the state's disaster management committee as the best in the country, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said other states could learn from Sarawak's long-term approach to flood mitigation, including building dams and a barrage to regulate river flow.

"The template we have observed in Sarawak will be presented in a paper to the Cabinet for the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to work with respective state governments in building barrages, especially in Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu.

"Although the cost can be high, a barrage can help to address some of the problems related to too much rainfall and seawater flowing into rivers," he told a press conference after chairing a meeting on flood preparations with the Meteorology, Civil Defence and Welfare departments here yesterday.

Also present were Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Agriculture and Agro-based Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

Before the meeting, Dr Ahmad Zahid visited the Sarawak River Barrage in Sejingkat here where he was briefed on its operations.

He said special allocations could be made in stages for the barrages to be constructed in other states.

"Sarawak's experience has shown the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) and DID at federal and state levels what can be implemented," he added.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also said Sarawak had the most effective community engagement in disaster management and relief through its community emergency response teams (CERT).

The CERT programme trains local volunteers to respond immediately in emergency situations while waiting for the arrival of the relevant agencies.

"We will use CERT as a national template to ensure grassroots communities are prepared for any situation. This includes using amateur radio operators to assist with communication and off-road enthusiasts to help deliver aid or ferry victims in their four-wheel drive vehicles," he said.

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