Malaysia's Meteorological dept denies claims it failed to issue rainfall warnings

A woman stands next to the swollen Klang river caused by heavy rain in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 19, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) Malaysia's Meteorological Department said it has been providing information and warnings since Dec 11 about the continuous rainfall that caused the massive floods and landslides around the country.

This response comes amid claims over social media that the department had failed to monitor and update the information

MetMalaysia director-general Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said on Sunday (Dec 19) it has been frequently releasing rainfall warnings involving Terengganu, Pahang and Johor since Dec 11.

He was responding to a Facebook user who alleged on Saturday that the department had failed to provide warnings or give updated information on Typhoon Rai and Tropical Depression Twenty-Nine.

Mr Muhammad Helmi pointed out that the department had released an advisory on Typhoon Rai at 5.45am on Dec 17 the moment it entered within the country's monitoring areas.

"This advisory was updated every three hours when the typhoon was in the country's monitoring areas and shared through our official website.

"The latest information about the low pressure system and Typhoon Rai was also announced on TV1 twice daily at 8am through the Selamat Pagi Malaysia programme and at 5pm by weather presenters during the Berita Wilayah news.

"Based on the information and weather warnings issued, we have carried out our responsibilities in monitoring the tropical storm and came out with information, warning and advisories specifically for disaster management agencies and the public," he said.

According to MetMalaysia, the weather forecast for Monday (Dec 20) will see rain in the morning at various places including Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.

In the afternoon, rain is expected in Penang, Kedah, Perlis, the interior of Perak and Kudat while thunderstorms are forecasted for Kuala Lumpur, the interior of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan .

At night, rain is expected in Penang, Kedah, Perlis, and the interior of Perak.

Meanwhile, an environmental activist has alleged Selangor's flood mess is due to poorly planned development having an adverse effect on the surroundings, .

Association for the Protection of the Natural Heritage of Malaysia (Peka) president, Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil, said that because of this, the state would face the threat of severe flooding whenever there were downpours.

"The Selangor government is just interested in development and does not care if it is done sustainably. Hills are cut down and trees simply felled," she alleged.

People's Legal Team founder Dinesh Muthal said the severe flooding in Selangor was akin to a state of emergency and the government not declaring it as one was irresponsible.

"The worst flooding in Klang and Shah Alam are in areas where most of the residents are from the B40 (lower income group) category.

"There must be many of them already starving and to make matters worse, the power supply is also affected.

"They will be completely cut off when their mobile phones run out of battery," he added.

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