After a heavy downpour in Penang, more havoc. This road collaspse is around 50 metres from the back door of the Tropical Spice Garden in northern Penang Island. Stress marks were spotted in 2015 along other stretches of the road further north in nearby Batu Ferringhi.
A landslide also struck the area at 5.30am.
In the south of the island, homes and apartment blocks were affected by flash floods as water levels began rising at around 2am. The flooding before dawn also coincided with high tide at 4.10am.
GEORGE TOWN: A university environment specialist has dismissed the Penang government’s claim that extensive development in the state was not the cause of flash floods that happened three times in a week here.
On the contrary, said Professor Chan Ngai Weng from Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) School of Humanities, it was rapid development and unscrupulous hillslope cutting that contributed to environmental degradation.
Chan, who specialises in environment hazard management, told the New Sunday Times that development in Penang was moving at a swift rate and flood mitigation measures were not prioritised.
“It is unwise to dismiss rapid development and hillslope cutting as the cause of flash floods.
“In fact, changing land use from green areas to urban built-up areas reduces permeable surfaces,” he said, taking the DAP-led state government and even the previous administration in Penang to task for “not doing enough”.
“Cutting hillslopes weakens soil structure and leads to erosion, forcing sediments to flow into rivers.
“These are certainly part of the reasons behind the slew of floods statewide.”
River encroachment also posed another problem, he said.
“Development happens very close to rivers, leaving river water no room to manoeuvre,” he said.
Chan said low-lying areas close to rivers were also undergoing rapid development, causing high rates of surface run-off that was not being absorbed into the ground.