Heavy rain causes new mud flood in Cameron Highlands

A rescuer and a dog search for a missing flood victim under a bridge after houses were destroyed by water released from a dam in Malaysia's Cameron Highlands on October 23, 2013.

PETALING JAYA - The heavy rain has caused another mud flood in Cameron Highlands, and this time it has affected Taman Pertabalan in Tanah Rata, located near a 1Malaysia housing project.

Regional Environmental Awareness Came­ron Highlands (Reach) president R. Rama­krishnan has attributed the latest flooding to the project, alleging that there was no proper silt trap in place.

He said the developer was mishandling the government project, which will see 1,040 housing units (320 high-cost, 300 medium-cost and 420 low-cost) and 120 shop houses built.

"The Prime Minister's name is being tarnished. We, the residents, feel that the Prime Minister and the Mentri Besar are not concerned about what is happening. This project did not have a proper silt trap and we have the evidence to show it," he told The Star, adding that the incident had occurred on Sunday.

Ramakrishnan said that the heavy rain had caused yet more soil to wash into Sungai Bertam, which would flow to the dam reservoir, Lake Ringlet.

He said the playground and SMK Sultan Ahmad Shah Cameron Highlands as well as the Mardi Agro technology park had been affected in the mud flood.

"If it is normal flooding, this kind of siltation would not have collected in the area. The mud and the silt came from the small stream that flows past the 1Malaysia project. It is almost filling up the entire underground culvert," he said, adding that the next heavy rain could cause flooding on the main road itself.

However, district officer Datuk Ahmad Daud insisted that the mud flood stemmed from heavy rain that caused Sungai Bertam to rise and overflow its banks.

He said the water had not come from the 1Malaysia housing project, adding that Taman Pertabalan had experienced flooding even before the project had started.

"It is the rainy season now; that's why things like landslides happen. Take the one which happened in Brinchang on Sunday, that was not due to earthworks," he said.

Ahmad said that he would ask his officers as well as the Department of Irrigation and Drainage to investigate the source of the problem, adding that he believed it was solely due to the rainy weather.

Cameron Highlands district council secretary Mazlan Mohamed Isa said the area had been closed off to the public, adding that clean-up operations were expected to be concluded in two weeks.