Flood: NSP calls for committee of inquiry

Press release by the National Solidarity Party.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Set up a Committee of Inquiry to look into improving drainage & weather warning system

NSP shares the frustration and disappointment of many Singaporeans whose lives have been severely disrupted by the reoccurring floods in recent days.

The Ministry of Environment and Water Resources under Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim has reportedly spent billions in improvement works on the various canals on this island. However it seems that the situation seems to have little, marginal improvement over the years.

In 2009, when flood hit Bukit Timah, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim claimed that it was a once in 50 year happening. We know that this is pure exaggeration as flash floods were happening quite often in that area in the 1970s and 1980s. But since 1990s, millions, if not billions have been spent on improvement works on the Bukit Timah Canal and we would expect floods of such magnitude should be a thing of the past.

On 16 June 2010, Orchard Road was flooded, causing millions of dollars of damage to private properties and businesses. The ministry under Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim has given the excuse of debris blockade.

Today, floods appear again, not only in Orchard Road and Bukit Timah, but in various places around Singapore. What could be the excuse then?

Back in 1999, an article in New Paper has once boasted that Orchard will never flood because of the Stamford Canal. It was said that it will take a COMBINATION of hide tide and 100mm of rainfall within an hour to flood Orchard. But since the Marina Barrage has been built, high tide should not be the main issue here anymore. Could the Marina Barrage be the main issue then?

The first incidence of flooding in Bukit Timah could be excused as Act of God. The second flood in Orchard Road could be excused on the blame of debris. How about the third one? Isn’t it too much of an excuse for such floods to keep reoccurring? Could it be too much of a coincidence that such floods occur after the Marina Barrage has been built?

We hope that the government would form an Independent Committee of Inquiry on this matter. This committee should consist of people who have the expertise to review the whole drainage system in Singapore. Singaporeans should deserve better accountability from the highly paid minister and civil servants instead of resigning to praying to heaven for not flooding Singapore.

On top of that, we would also like to urge the authority and the Committee of Inquiry to look into the possibility of implementing a colour coded weather warning system. This is necessary to reduce the risks of people being exposed to adverse weathers like heavy rains and floods. A Red code rain weather warning would mean that young kids will not have to attend kindergarten while a Black code rain weather

warning would mean that all classes in schools should stop. This should reduce the risk of young children being endangered by adverse weather.

Singaporeans want the government to ACT NOW to resolve and improve the drainage as well as weather forecast systems. We hope that the PAP government would respond promptly to this call.

Goh Meng Seng
Secretary General of the 13th CEC