BATU PAHAT: The government has approved an immediate allocation of RM7 million as a ‘quick win’ solution to floods in this district, including the problem of stagnant floodwaters, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pix).

He said the allocation, which will be used to clear clogged drains and buy water pumps, would be channelled by the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) through the implementing agency Drainage and Irrigation Department (JPS).

“In this situation, quick win measures will be taken in a week or two so that we can see the results, especially in digging drains which had become clogged after being filled with mud and refuse.

“Apart from this, JPS has suggested the full use of water pumps to drain out water immediately, especially during a receding tide,” he told reporters after visiting the flood relief centre at Dewan Orang Ramai Sri Medan here today.

Also present during the visit were Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi and State Secretary Tan Sri Azmi Rohani.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Rural and Regional Development Minister, said long-term projects like flood mitigation programmes worth RM50 million in this district would be included in the 12th Malaysia Plan.

In view that some schools located on higher grounds were frequently used as flood relief centres (PPS), he will direct NADMA to enter into a smart partnership with these schools to build permanent halls for use as PPS.

“We will start with eight schools in Johor involving Mersing and Batu Pahat.

“We will build school halls for use as PPS, but outside the flood season these halls can be used by the school authorities, especially for school activities,” he added.

Ahmad Zahid, who is chairman of the Central Disaster Management Committee, will also direct the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM) director-general to immediately establish a regiment-sized membership in all the 222 parliamentary constituencies.

“We will coordinate this for all the 222 parliamentary constituencies throughout the country, and it will be done this year, Insya-Allah.

“We hope this coordinated work would mean several steps forward to help the people,” said the Bagan Datuk Member of Parliament.

A regiment usually has between 300 and 1,000 personnel.

It is learnt that Johor has some 1,000 APM members throughout the state. - Bernama

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