Floods of Klang
Between maladaptation, mismanagement and poor response.
In December 2021, Malaysia suffered one of the worst floods in recent memory. Nearly 60 deaths were recorded with RM 6.1 billion in damages.
Klang is one of the worst affected areas in Selangor, the biggest economy in Malaysia. Home to Port Klang, the main gateway by sea into Malaysia and some of the busiest globally, Klang district is nested within the Klang Valley, an urban conglomeration connecting the Greater Kuala Lumpur.
Meeting with residents
On the 2nd of April 2022, Klima Action Malaysia - KAMY had the chance to meet with the residents of Klang 4 months after the tragedy. Klang’s Member of Parliament, YB Charles Santiago, organised the event in Klang, attended by the resident groups and community associations in Klang.
The schedule of the event was as follows:
The People’s voices and flood insecurity
Firsthand experiences by victims regarding flood relief and preparedness, dealing with local authorities such as MPK, JPS and JKR, local plans and their frustrations during and after their plight.
Speakers: Chairpersons of three resident’s associations in Klang
Mohan Govindaraju - Bayu Perdana Resident's Association
Mohd Zulkifli bin Othman - Bandar Bukit Raja Resident's Association
Tan Poh Hock from Bandar Baru Klang's Resident's Association
Sharing from a resident of Taman Sri Pelabuhan, Klang
"I started living here in 2005. Since then, our area has been continuously flooded. The floods level used to be 3 inches, and now it reaches waist level. Our case is an isolated case that MPK (Klang Municipal Council) does not want to look into. My son entered the house when he was 3 years old, now he is 20 years old. Throughout our lives here, my eldest son and I are really traumatized. My husband goes to work, so he doesn't experience it first hand. My children are all traumatized by the floods."
Another resident also highlighted issues around compensation for flood victims
"What are the statistics available to our YBs (whether ADUN or Member of Parliament) on the funds allocation of state and federal government towards flood victims? As far as we know, only a few have received RM1,000 compensation from the state government. What about from the federal government?
We were also promised another RM2,500 will be channeled directly to flood victims. What is the situation of this matter?
Financial aid for flood victims must be delivered not within 6 months or 1 year, but immediately within 1-2 months."
Issues and challenges of climate change and its impact on coastal areas (i.e. Klang)
Issues related to climate change focus on coastal areas, impact on businesses, households, and preparedness for residents. Speaker: Ili Nadiah Dzulfakar, Klima Action Malaysia
Issues relating to the climate factors that led to the heavy rainfall over Selangor. Speaker: Prof. Dr. Fredolin Tangang, UKM
Impact of rising sea levels on coastal areas (TBC) Speaker: Hj. Mohd Radzi Bin Abdul Hamid, NAHRIM
Developing strategies and a way forward for Klang: The role of Government, Businesses and People
Issues with the current infrastructure in place that must be addressed, recommendations for Klang Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Ir Dr. Lee Wei Koon, UiTM
A proposed action plan for residents and authorities in the face of flooding, as well as policy recommendations for effective economic adaptation and mitigation for the next 30 years. Speaker: Prof. Dr. Joy Pereira, SEADPRI-UKM
Communities are frustrated & exhausted
The individuals that we met in the session have lived with the flood for decades. They are already aware about climate change and the changes that need to be implemented, however the government is clearly falling behind. The residents in Klang have taken things in their own hands to adapt & mitigate the floods but of course this is still not enough. We must build community resilience with adequate resources and support.
Addressing this issue must start with the realisation that the current system will not help us help us thrive. Throughout the session, it was clear that none of the residents were against development, they want the floods to be solved and new developments to be climate proof and people-led. In addition, developers must be held accountable in cases where they pollute or exacerbate disasters for communities. We cannot continue to aim for profit while neglecting the well-being of the people.
The damages that the residents experience also go beyond monetary and infrastructures. Many elders shared their stress and trauma which directly affects their health, ranging from high blood pressure and cardiovascular complications.
If we don’t allocate finances towards adaptation FAST, Klang will be gone in the next decade. According to the IPCC report, projected increases in direct flood damages are higher by 1.4 to 2 times at 2°C and 2.5 to 3.9 times at 3°C compared to 1.5°C global warming (without adaptation). Currently at 1.2°C we are already seeing tipping points in Klang.
Outtakes of the sessions
Media coverage of the sessions