KUALA LUMPUR: The Department of Minerals and Geoscience (JMG) has identified a total of 221 critical slopes which need attention, especially when the monsoon season starts.

Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said the heartbreaking incident which claimed 31 lives in Batang Kali, in December last year, could have been avoided if all parties took the development of an area seriously, by ensuring that the site involved was stable and safe, and not at risk of geological disasters such as landslides.

“In addition, the mudflow incidents, which have occurred several times, also need to be given attention,” he said in a message in conjunction with World Geologists’ Day 2023, which was observed today.

Therefore, he said that the geologists are required to conduct regular checks, to ensure that the people who are exposed to this geological disaster are given enough knowledge so that unwanted incidents can be avoided in the event of floods or mudflow in the future.

Nik Nazmi said during the Batang Kali disaster, he witnessed work conducted by JMG.

“I am highly impressed with the role that geologists have shown. They are among the first to arrive at the disaster site, and analyse the site as well as the movement of the landslides. They are also the ones who study and understand the cause of the incident,” he said.

Describing geologists in Malaysia as being among the earliest professionals in helping the country’s development, he also encouraged them to explore renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, to help the non-radioactive rare earth element (NR-REE) mining industry.

He said that the effort is necessary, as the NR-REE mining industry is currently being actively developed, with several areas identified as having the potential to promise good returns to the national economy.

In the meantime, Nik Nazmi said that JMG has been directly involved in drafting the Groundwater Strategic Plan 2021-2040, to support the Water Sector Transformation 2040 (WST 2040) agenda.

He added that the involvement was to ensure the country’s water supply continues to be in a sustainable state, through continuous studies on the conjunctive use of underground water sources.

“The Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Ministry is also actively developing the National Geopark Development and Implementation Plan so that geopark development in Malaysia is carried out in a controlled and sustainable manner. Also, it ensures that geological disasters can be monitored and controlled.

“The Ministry is directly involved in Directive No. 20 (National Disaster Management Policy and Mechanism), including implementing the community-based disaster risk programme (CBDRM), to reduce the risk of geological disasters, whether loss of life or property,” he said. - Bernama