Najib: Massive floods in Malaysia due to climate change

PM Najib meeting victims displaced by the flood at a relief centre in Sekolah Kebangsaan Sinar Mutiara, Pekan.

PEKAN - The massive floods in the east coast early last month was due to climate change and should not be blamed on anyone, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said the phenomenon was caused by centuries of unchecked development which had severely affected the environment.

"It afflicts every country in the world. In New York, the Arctic storm has caused the temperature to drop to -52°C.

"The cold left 21 people dead and the terrible condition has impacted the economy of the world's superpower. We cannot blame anyone for this because this is the effects of our development," Najib said at an aid presentation for flood victims and volunteer appreciation ceremony here yesterday.

He said the unusual rainfall of 777mm in Jabor, Terengganu on Dec 2 was more than double the amount of a month's rain.

"The only thing we can do is to make careful preparations to reduce the impact of the floods," said Najib, adding that the Cabinet had received proposals from the Flood Disaster Committee, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to improve the flood management standard operating procedure to be more efficient.

He said among the upgrades suggested was for the Meteorological Department and the Irrigation and Drainage Department (JPS) to utilise the latest technology in improving its early warning systems.

"We have also asked JPS to prepare flood mitigation plans. However, the cost is very high and the Government has to consider the affordability first before making any decisions," he said.

Najib said the flood mitigation measures put forward by Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said costs RM480mil while the plan to insulate the entire Sungai Isap in Kuantan would come up to RM700mil (S$270 mil).

Besides that, the Government had to purchase boats, heavier trucks and other assets, he said.

On the flood assistance programme, Najib said up to 1,504 affected families in Pekan would receive RM750 in cash aid, a mattress, pillows, a kitchen stove, refrigerator, television set and rice cooker each.