YAN, Sept 4 — The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) plans to set up a team of experts, comprising various relevant departments and agencies, to study and assess the risk of geological disasters in the country, said its Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.
He said the move was to combine the roles of the experts so that more integrated actions could be taken to deal with landslide and debris flow incidents.
He added that among the agencies or departments to be involved are the Department of Minerals and Geosciences Malaysia (JMG), the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia, the Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia and Tenaga Nasional Bhd, which are under his ministry.
“Departments in other ministries include the Irrigation and Drainage Department, Public Works Department and the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department,” he said in a press conference, after inspecting the location of the Gunung Jerai landslide and debris flow here today.
He said that the proposal would then be refined at his ministry level, before being tabled to the Cabinet for approval, and the team may also involve experts from abroad, especially countries that are experienced in dealing with geological disasters, to help find the best solutions.
He also gave assurance that his ministry would take appropriate action to ensure that the Gunung Jerai Permanent Forest Reserve area, which is classified as a protected water catchment area, is not affected by any geological disaster.
Meanwhile, the secretary-general of the Ministry of Environment and Water (KASA), Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang, said the water surge incident in Yan on Aug 18 has the potential to recur if initial steps are not taken.
Apart from the construction of a dam, residents should also take responsibility for regular cleaning of drains in their residential areas to ensure waterways are not blocked, he said at the Environmental Conservation webinar session organised by the ministry today.
He said natural dams such as large trees and rocks that had been blocking the flow of rainwater had been destroyed, causing the second flood to occur on Thursday (Sept 2).
Zaini added that the Sabo dam, which will be built in the area, is a type of dam widely used in Japan, to ensure that fallen trees and large rocks did not flow downstream in the event of gushing water, and it is expected to be completed this December.
The construction of the first phase of the dam, costing RM20 million, is part of an allocation of RM75 million announced by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, during his visit to Kedah on Aug 23, to help the Kedah government repair damaged public facilities and infrastructure in Yan and Merbok. — Bernama