RM550 million to implement nationwide Flood Predicting System — Wan Junaidi

SIBU: The Flood Predicting System (FPS) which is capable of giving up to seven days’ early warning for relevant government agencies to plan rescue and relief operations in advance will cost about RM550 million if the entire system is to be implemented.

According to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, the first phase of the FPS which covers the rivers of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan catchment areas, costs about RM139 million to implement. It is expected to be completed by 2018.

Phase two will include certain parts of Sarawak and Sabah as well as some parts along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia; the total of which – if the whole system is to be implemented – will cost about RM550 million, he disclosed.

Wan Junaidi said that they did not have the budget yet for this balance besides work for phase one which is due to be completed by 2018, adding that they had already forwarded their request to proceed with phase two.

He said this to The Borneo Post yesterday when asked if there has been any decision whether to adopt the FPS based on the British system or the one recommended by USA.

The minister pointed out that there are 149 river basins in the whole of Malaysia, adding that rivers in Sarawak and on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia are all very long and big.

“We have already implemented part of it based on data from 2014. The ministry at that time decided they wanted to implement the flood predicting system at Sungai Pahang, Sungai Terengganu and Kelantan.

“When I came into the ministry, I said it was not fair that Sarawak is not being installed (with the system) as well. So, that is why Sarawak and Sabah are also being included – incidents in 2015 showed that Sabah and Sarawak too experienced flooding along the rivers; if we look at the Batang Lupar, Batang Rajang, Baram and Sarawak rivers – all require the thing (FPS).”

Among others, the system is capable of detecting sea-level changes and interior (area) rainfall, he added.

The Santubong MP pointed out that under the current system, flood threats could only be known some six hours before they occur. The new FPS system is capable of giving 2 days’ advanced warning with almost 90 per cent accuracy.

“However, we can predict that there is going to be flooding to the areas seven days (in advance) once the whole system is completely installed…. Then, we can tell more people and alert them earlier. In this respect, departments or agencies of the government or ministries involved in handling disasters like the National Security Council, police, army, Civil Defence Force (APM) and Fire and Rescue Department can be alerted earlier.”

Wan Junaidi also said this system provides real-time information, where all the systems at river basins and at strategic marine areas are giving direct information to the central control centre located at Drainage and Irrigation Department (JPS) Kuala Lumpur.

He said his ministry was only an alerting ministry, providing the necessary information and relaying them to the agencies concerned to take action.

“They are the people who take action, not us. That is how the system works,” he explained.

Towards this end, he said his ministry was coordinating with Sabah and Sarawak state governments who were also installing similar systems.

“We have to be able to coordinate because systems installed in Sarawak and Sabah may not be compatible with our system that we have installed in Peninsular Malaysia…. The progress of coordinating is now on-going,” he said.

Earlier, it was reported that the Sarawak Disaster Relief Committee (SDRC) is now getting its more than 17,000 members ready to handle natural disasters, in line with October being declared National Preparedness Month by the federal government.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas who helms the committee had said the National Preparedness Month was declared by the National Disaster Management Committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

In line with this, all Residents, District Officers and heads of departments and agencies in the state have been instructed to plan and implement natural disaster preparedness programmes for the whole of next month.-BP

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