Tuesday, February 06, 2007

SINGAPORE REFUTES ALLEGATIONS (MB Ghani Othman) JOHORE FLOODS Due to Reclamation Works; NAJIB: Concurs; UTUSAN Stokes Fire

It interesting to note that the MB of Johore after having suffered such disastrous misfortune in the floods was quick to find a diversion in putting the blame on the reclamations works done by Singapore in Pulau Tekong without giving it second thoughts. When the Singapore denies such allegation, the Deputy Premier mindful of the repercussion agreed that a technical evaluation is needed. And our foreign minister Syed Hamid Albar chided Singapores’s “unfounded comments” but Utusan Malaysai was quick to find “evidence” and sent its own investigating team using “eye judgment” and fisherman’s view to conclude that “the shallower river had resulted in the water overflowing its banks and flooding Kota Tinggi

Singapore’s PUB (Public Utility Board) and National Environmental Agency (NEA) blamed it on a confluence of two factors: Intense rainfall and high tide. The other thing of note in the report (see bottom) is how they managed the reservoirs. When rain clouds were sensed, they RELEASED the water BEFORE the rains came and over in Johore they did it AFTER the rains and when dangerous levels were detected. Why? Why release revenue water down the river!
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Stop Pointing Fingers, Just Act; Letter from Jeffrey Law from TODAY OnlineAfter reading the report, "Singapore rebuts Johor CM's flood claim" (Feb 1), I think Johor Chief Minister Abdul Ghani Othman should reorder his priorities. He should be more concerned with the plight of the 30,000 Johorians still in relief centres instead of pointing fingers. His statement that Singapore's reclamation works caused the floods in Johor is contrary to the technical studies undertaken by both the Singapore and the Malaysian governments. It is the unusually heavy rainfall coupled with the poor drainage system that contributed to the floods in Johor. The state government should view the situation in perspective and take precautionary measures to prevent such disasters from recurring.= == = = == = == = = == =

The Star 3 Feb 07
Singapore reclamation work seems to be having environmental impact

TO the naked eye, it is clear that reclamation work by Singapore have resulted in Pulau Tekong, which belongs to the republic, coming too close to Malaysia, Utusan Malaysia said. The newspaper had sent a team on a boat ride in the Straits of Johor to check on the reclamation there and ascertain if it could have caused the bad flooding in Johor recently. The team said that from the boat, they could clearly see that Singapore had reclaimed land far into the sea towards Malaysia and the waters on the Singapore side have become so narrow that it could not be used even by small boats. The newspaper said the reclamation had also made the Johor River and the Straits of Johor shallow and this had affected the flow of water.
Pasir Gogok Fishermen Association chairman Ismail Hassan said he had received many complaints from members that the water which used to be 60m deep was now only 40m. He believed the narrowing and sedimentation of the
Johor River from reclamation work meant that the water could not flow freely into the straits. He added the shallower river had resulted in the water overflowing its banks and flooding Kota Tinggi.

February 01, 2007 17:59 PM

DPM Was Very Clear About The Cause Of Floods - Syed Hamid
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak made it very clear yesterday that the cause of floods in Johor will be determined through a technical study, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said today.

The Deputy Prime Minister's statement was very clear on the issue, he told reporters. Syed Hamid was asked to comment on the statement issued by Singapore Foreign Ministry yesterday, denying the claim by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman that the floods in Johor was caused by reclamation works at Pulau Tekong by the Singapore Government. Today, the republic's Ministry of National Development said there was no scientific basis to allege that land reclamation at Pulau Tekong contributed to the recent massive floods in Johor.

"The comments are unfounded," it said. As Johor was worst-hit by the floods, he believed the technical committee would look at all possibilities to ascertain the real cause."...in the end, it will be guided by the technical study in terms of what we need to do and how we should address the issue," said Syed Hamid, who is also Member of Parliament for Kota Tinggi, one of the worst-hit districts in Johor. Elaborating on the soon-to-be conducted study, he said, the technical committee would determine whether the flooding would be an annual occurrence and remedial measures to be taken to address the problem. "I think this is important to us as we need to manage and plan for the future," he added
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No Scientific Basis To Say Reclamation Caused Johor Floods - Singapore
By Jackson Sawatan

SINGAPORE, Feb 1 (Bernama) -- Singapore has denied claims its land reclamation at Pulau Tekong contributed to the recent massive floods in Johor. The Ministry of National Development said there was no scientific basis to allege so. "The comments are unfounded," it said. It said: "This is confirmed by results from technical studies commissioned separately by both the Malaysian Government and the Singapore Government as part of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea dispute settlement proceedings on Singapore's land reclamation works at Pulau Tekong and Tuas View Extension."

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said on Tuesday land reclamation by Singapore at Pulau Tekong contributed to the massive flooding in Johor. He said the reclamation had caused narrowing of the Johor River mouth and slowed discharge of excess rain water into the Johor Straits. The ministry said a coastal hydraulic study undertaken by Malaysia's Drainage and Irrigation Department in September 2002 on the impact of Singapore's reclamation works concluded that there were no appreciable changes to the water levels within the Straits of Johor. "As such, the study concluded that there is no increased flooding due to Singapore's reclamation works," it said in a statement. It also cited a separate environmental impact assessment report prepared by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia commissioned by the Malaysian Government which reported similar findings.

"Technical studies commissioned separately by the Singapore Government in 2003 also reached the same conclusions. "In fact, based on the results of these studies, the Group of Experts which both governments appointed to study the impact of the reclamation works had recommended that it would not be necessary for the flood impact to be further assessed by the technical consultant appointed for the Joint Study. This was accepted by both governments," it added
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Najib: No reason to blame Singapore for floods

01 Feb 2007; Adrian David; NST
KUALA LUMPUR: Assumptions cannot be made that massive land reclamation work by Singapore at Pulau Tekong contributed to the recent floods in Johor.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said without a proper and in-depth technical study, it would be preposterous to point fingers. "People are fond of making all kinds of accusations. This ought to be substantiated. "I learnt that excessive rain over a 24-hour period in some areas, which is unusual, may have contributed to the floods," he said in reference to remarks made by Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman.

Ghani blamed the land reclamation for having narrowed the river mouth of Sungai Johor, causing massive flooding in Kota Tinggi. He said the narrowing of the delta had slowed the discharge of excess rain water into the Johor Straits. Najib said the government had appointed a technical committee to study the terms of reference under the bilateral agreement with Singapore. He had earlier launched a book, On Command and Leadership, authored by armed forces chief Laksamana Tan Sri Mohamad Anwar Mohamad Nor at Wisma Pertahanan yesterday. Kota Tinggi suffered from repeated flooding as it is a riverine locality. In addition, excess rain water from upstream and the surrounding catchment areas also flowed into the Sungai Johor, causing it to burst its banks and flood the town. Singapore started land reclamation work in 2002 along the eastern and western parts of the Johor Straits near the Malaysian mainland. The work, involving 5,214ha of sea area, is expected to be completed in 2010. It will lengthen the headland in Tuas by 7km and double the size of Pulau Tekong, which is located across the river mouth of Sungai Johor.

Malaysia launched international arbitration proceedings against Singapore in October 2003, saying the land reclamation had damaged its interests by, among other things, narrowing the shipping lanes around the Johor Straits. It also applied to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea for an interim order to stop the reclamation work. The Hamburg-based tribunal heard the case in September 2003. It ruled that the reclamation could continue, but ordered both sides to set up an independent group of experts to study the impact. The parties agreed that the recommendations would be used as the basis of a "mutually acceptable and beneficial solution".

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= and WHAT happened down under in

Why Waters Overran Thomson

Posted: Sat, 23 Dec 2006 07:14:11 +0800; Taking lessons from flood, PUB installs sensor, hopes to raise ground, build bigger drains

Leong Wee Keat; weekeat@mediacorp.com.sg

IT may have seemed to be the worst flood in recent memory, causing damage and plenty of inconvenience. But to look at it in context - if Dec 19's flooding had taken place in the1970s and 1980s, more people would be affected and displaced, said the Public Utilities Board (PUB) on Friday. Unlike the floods of December 1978, which affected 1,000 people and left seven dead, last Tuesday's heavy downpour affected just 100 people and there were no casualties. It was also a "localised" flood, affecting the Thomson and Mandai areas where 15ha was submerged in water, unlike the 3,200ha in 1978, said PUB drainage director Yap Kheng Guan.

Low-lying areas Chinatown and Little India were also not affected. Giving a blow-by-blow account of the conditions that led to this week's flood, the PUB and National Environmental Agency (NEA) blamed it on a confluence of two factors: Intense rainfall and high tide. In fact, the rainfall within the first 16 hours of that wet Tuesday was 313mm - higher than the average of 284mm for the whole of previous December months. A storm surge of 35 to 40 knots - an increase from the normal 10 to 20 knots - drove rain clouds near and over Singapore. This caused a build-up of rain clouds over the island, said the NEA's chief meteorological officer Lam Keng Gaik.

The PUB had let excess water out of MacRitchie Reservoir last Monday when heavy rain warnings were first sounded. It was stopped the next day when drains were full. But it was too late as water had already started spilling from the reservoir. In particular, three short bursts of intense rainfall - after a prolonged period of rain - coincided with the high tides, resulting in floods. About 100 PUB staffers were activated. The flood waters left a devastating trail among the nurseries based in Thomson Road, with estimated damage of up to $1 million. Asked if the PUB had warned them of the impending flood, Mr Yap said monsoon advisories were sent to residents and shop-owners in all low-lying areas in October - as with previous years. Just a day before Dec 19, the PUB had also advised of high tides and heavy rainfall through the media, he said. But despite these early warnings, Mother Nature still wreaked havoc.

Still, the PUB is not taking any chances in a repeat of the floods in the two areas. Besides close monitoring and investigations at the two areas, the PUB has installed an electronic water-level sensor in a canal at Joan Road on Friday. This sensor - among the six being deployed island-wide in canals here - would alert PUB officials immediately if a threshold of the water level is breached. A flash flood alert will then be sent to residents and shop owners. In the long term, Mr Yap said the plan is to bring up the ground level there and build bigger drains.

But such big-scale projects also require coordination from other government agencies, such as the URA and HDB."We take this flood very seriously," said Mr Yap. "We will look at measures: Whether we should expand the drains, fill up the ground, and so forth." While the north-east monsoon winds are weakening, the weather for the next few days is likely to stay wet, said the NEA. According to the weatherman, prolonged heavy rain like the Dec 19 one is unlikely.


Anonymous Down South said...

Sure, blame Singapore for Jakarta's flood too. I say, Australia is flooding too... blame Singapore once again.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Singapore won't give a damn to what Batu Gunny bugger accusation , and for that matter not even what Najis thinks.

1:05 AM  

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