GEORGE TOWN, Nov 14 — The Penang government plans to introduce its own early warning system for weather-related disasters instead of relying on the Malaysia Meteorological Department.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the reason is because the state could not rely fully on the Meteorological Department to alert the state of any impending storms or floods.
“We have asked the Penang Green Council (PGC) to conduct a study to have our own early warning system that we can trust,” the Air Putih assemblyman said in his winding-up speech at the state legislative assembly here today.
He insisted that the department cannot be trusted to give accurate information and forecasts and gave as example the rain that fell in Paya Terubong but was not forecasted.
He said it would be acceptable if the department had forecasted rain, and it didn’t occur.
“What is most worrying is that when they didn’t give an alert and something happened so now, if they don’t give an alert, we have to be more alert,” he said.
Lim was referring to the continuous heavy downpour on November 4 and 5 which flooded the state and caused widespread damage, with seven lives lost.
The state government had accused the Meteorological Department of not issuing early warnings of the storm that weekend.
The storm caught the authorities unprepared as all five districts statewide were flooded while strong winds brought down numerous trees throughout the state.
A total 12,559 people or 3,052 families were evacuated during the disaster over the weekend while thousands others were also affected by loss and damages to their properties and vehicles.
Lim said the clean-up efforts post-floods are now almost complete for the island while about 80 per cent of the Seberang Perai affected areas have been cleaned.
“The good news is that it is 10 days after the flood that the clean-up exercise of the state is almost complete,” he said.