KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's annual monsoon season continues unabated, with Johor facing the brunt of it, with some areas struggling with flood waters up to eight feet deep.
As of Monday afternoon (Dec 16), the number of people evacuated in Johor state had more than doubled to 9,348, from 3,934 on Sunday.
Over two-thirds of the state's victims were from Kluang, Segamat and Kota Tinggi, the three most-severely hit areas.
Engineer Lor Wei Keong, 43, was stranded atop his four-wheel drive along Jalan Kota Tinggi-Mersing for two hours before he was rescued in an amphibious boat.
"The water level was only half-way up my vehicle tyres, and I thought I could go," he told The New Straits Times daily. "Unfortunately, the vehicle was trapped in the rising floodwaters which was gaining speed as well".
He escaped to his vehicle's rooftop where he was spotted by road users who called for help.
Nationwide, more than 10,000 flood victims have been evacuated as of Monday noon, said the National Disaster Management Agency. They were taken to nearly 100 relief centres, of which 85 were in Johor.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department has issued warnings to ships, as strong winds and waves from the South China Sea pummelled the coasts of Johor, Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu.
The department forecasts torrential rain in Johor, Terengganu and Pahang until Tuesday (Dec 17) while heavy downpour is expected to drench Sabah until Wednesday (Dec 18).
As of Monday afternoon, flood victims in Johor, Pahang and Sarawak have yet to return home while the last of these evacuees in Melaka went home on Monday morning.
In Kuala Lumpur, roads were flooded and drains overflowed as rain beat down non-stop on Sunday.
The basement carpark of IKEA Cheras shopping mall was knee-high in flood waters, with some customers stranded for several hours at the popular centre.
Furniture company IKEA Malaysia, blaming the flooding on the severe rain, said: "Unfortunately, our drainage systems are impacted by construction beyond our own property."
Mobile phone reception was erratic in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang.
Network service provider Celcom announced on Monday morning that floods caused triple fibre failure which it said could make it difficult to use its data and voice call services. But the issues were resolved by midday, it tweeted.
In Sabah, unrelenting rain cut off road access to a village in Papar, forcing a woman to give birth at home and then walking 5km to seek treatment at a health clinic. Local media reported that landslides prevented family members from heading out to get help for the unnamed woman.
The monsoon has hitherto claimed two lives this year: a seven-year-old boy who slipped and fell into a canal and a 49-year-old Thai labourer who fell into a flooded paddy field.
Both happened in Kelantan earlier this month, when the number of people evacuated across Malaysia swelled to more than 15,000.