Tidal waves to sweep Malaysia's west coast until year end, warns Selangor Chief Minister

A motorcyclist riding through a flooded stretch of road in front of the Pulau Ketam jetty in Port Klang.
A motorcyclist riding through a flooded stretch of road in front of the Pulau Ketam jetty in Port Klang.PHOTO: BERNAMAPIC

KLANG (The Star/Asia News Network) - Tidal waves are expected to occur from the middle of next month to December, Selangor's Chief Minister said on Wednesday (Sep 21), as hundreds of people living on the west coast remained in shelters following emergency evacuation.

Menteri Besar Azmin Ali has instructed all the relevant government agencies in the state to be prepared for the situation.

"All agencies and the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) have to repair river banks that are weak so that there won't be problems of the banks and bunds breaking in future," said Mr Azmin when visiting flood victims at the Kampung Tok Muda community hall on Wednesday.

High tides measuring up to 5.6m slammed into the Selangor shoreline on Monday and Tuesday, prompting the evacuation of more than 1,000 residents in the state as well as in neighbouring Perak and Kedah.

The phenomenon, which first occurred on Sunday, was attributed to a combination of the gravitational forces of the moon and sun (also known as spring tide) as well as strong south-westerly winds.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director (operations) Mohd Sani Harul said badly hit places in Klang such as Taman Maznah and Kampung Tok Muda, Kapar saw floodwaters rising from 50mm to 250mm.

Other affected areas were Tanjong Karang town, which saw floodwaters as high as 900mm, Pantai Kelanang, Banting (5.6m) and Pantai Remis (5.6m).

“The situation is under control today (Tuesday) and there is no serious flooding like on Monday.

“The fact that it has not been raining heavily has also helped counter the flash floods,” added Mr Mohd Sani.

Kampung Bagan Sun­gai Lima New Village, which is on the same island as the Pulau Ketam village, was also not spared from the wrath of high tide, with water rising to 5.6m.

The village suffered severe damages with many of the wooden walkways getting washed away by the rising seawater.

Pulau Ketam MCA chief Chia Mong Chun said the last time water rose that high was about 18 years ago. “The winds have been very strong this year and it is one of the factors for the flash floods,” said Mr Chia.

Selangor Disaster Management Unit head Ahmad Fairuz Mohd Yusof said this was the first time in recent years the high tide had broken the sea bund.

He added that the high tide forecast was 5.5m but the wave reached 5.6m.

“This was because of intermittent rainfall, wind patterns, as well as inter-monsoon seasonal rains,” he said.

Mr Ahmad Fairuz added that those living in high-risk areas such as Kampung Tok Muda in Kapar, Kampung Tok Adam, Tanjung Karang and Kampung Sungai Air Tawar, Sabak Bernam were immediately evacuated when the water level reached 5.6m.

Selangor's executive councillor in charge of infrastructure, Mr Zaidy Abdul Talib, said the flooding would have been worse if there had been a heavy downpour and surge in the waves at the same time.

He advised people living near flood prone areas to be cautious of a possible repeat of the recent flooding and keep up with the latest updates and instructions given by the relevant authorities.

"The state government has taken the necessary measures by repairing all the bunds damaged by the big waves," Mr Zaidy said in a statement.

He said the DID had repaired the bunds that were damaged at two locations in Sungai Air Tawar, Sabak Bernam.

"The damaged bunds in Kampung Sungai Lang and Kampung Sungai Apong are being repaired now," he said.