Climate change, preparedness and responses, and devt planning main factors to consider in addressing flood risk

Rohani speaking during the Special Parliamentary Meeting today (Jan 20, 2022).

KUCHING, Jan 20: Climate change, preparedness and responses, and development planning are three main interacting factors which affect the risk of flood, says Batang Lupar MP Dato Sri Rohani Abdul Karim.

According to Rohani, this is based on research conducted by All-Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia on Sustainable Development Goals (APPGM-SDG) in 2020 and 2021.

She noted, the research found that other areas in Malaysia including in the Batang Lupar Parliamentary constituency found that floods were caused by improper planned development and change in land usage activities without adequate risk assessments.

“In the future, the effects of floods will be exacerbated with population growth, urbanisation rates and economic development in flood-prone areas.

“This is coupled with increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather due to climate change.

“It should be emphasised that the SDG will also not be achieved without effective disaster risk reduction,” said Rohani when speaking about the issue during the Special Parliamentary Meeting today in Kuala Lumpur.

In her speech, Rohani also highlighted 11 suggestions under three main themes, that were discussed with the APPGM-SDG which is composed of experts in various fields to address the flood issue.

Firstly, she suggested that under the accountability and transparency theme, a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) should be established to conduct an investigation into disaster preparedness as well as to investigate in depth local factors in the affected areas that exacerbated the risk of flood.

She also proposed a Climate Change Commission to be establish as an independent oversight to regulate matters involving climate change, including adaptation and disaster risk management.

Under the second theme, which is the usage of land planning and development, Rohani proposed a review in national land use planning including the State Structure Plan and Local Plan, as well as in the process of gazetting the Permanent Forest Reserve (HSK) in Malaysia.

Apart from that, she said there is a need to speed up the National Adaptation Plan which has been planned since 2015 and the 11th Malaysia Plan (RMK11), as well as strengthen development planning, and establish a legal framework to mandate a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for all policies, plans and programmes.

This includes utilising natural ecosystems as national natural treasures as “nature-based solutions” in disaster risk management and climate adaptation which is also in line with SDG Goal 15 which is the conservation of terrestrial ecosystems, transforming water management in urban areas in a more holistic and innovative manner, to review and stop development in environmentally sensitive and vulnerable areas, especially areas with high population density such as Bukit Nanas and Bukit Fraser.

Lastly, under the third theme, which is disaster preparedness and recovery, Rohani pointed out there is a need to implement Community-Based Disaster Risk Management throughout the country based on the principle of “no one left behind”, and to institutionalise a ‘build back better’ approach to ensure the improvement of infrastructure, the restoration of sources of income, the provision of insurance and compensation for “loss and damages” as well as the provision of health and psychosocial services. — DayakDaily