Source; Buletin Mutiara

Penang has embarked on an ambitious five-year climate adaptation project to mitigate flash floods in the Bayan Baru area. The initiative, titled “Penang Nature-Based Climate Adaptation Programme” (PNBCap), was announced by Zairil Khir Johari, Chairman of the Penang Infrastructure and Transport Committee, and is a collaborative effort between UN-Habitat and Think City. The project, which began in 2023 and is set to conclude in 2027, involves a substantial investment of RM 9.2 million and is being executed by the Penang Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS).

The PNBCap initiative encompasses three major projects. The first is the restoration and beautification of the Sungai Keluang river corridor, transforming it into a “Blue-Green Corridor.” This project aims to create a harmonious blend of natural beauty and effective water management. The second project is the construction of Penang’s first nature-based retention pond at Lintang Nibong neighborhood football field. Unlike traditional concrete structures, this advanced retention pond is designed to efficiently collect and manage rainwater, featuring underground infiltration systems and water storage components. The third project involves the installation of permeation devices and storage systems beneath the retention pond to enhance water management capabilities.

Zairil highlighted that the JPS had conducted a public consultation on May 11, where over 60 community members provided positive feedback. The Bayan Baru area, a rapidly developing township, has been identified as a flood-prone zone, experiencing 16 floods from 2016 to 2024. The existing drainage system is outdated and unable to cope with heavy rainfall, necessitating urgent upgrades. Local MP Sim Tze Tzin has been actively advocating for government intervention to address these recurring flood issues.

Penang is the first state to receive UN-Habitat funding for enhancing climate resilience. The Sungai Keluang corridor, stretching 400 meters, will feature natural enhancements such as rain gardens, bioretention swales, green roofs, children’s playgrounds, viewing platforms, boardwalks, sports areas, parking lots, pergolas, fishing platforms, camping zones, and urban farms.

Zairil expressed hope that this pioneering project will serve as a model for other states and cities in combating climate change. The launch event was attended by UN-Habitat Project Manager Kwan Sook Cheng and JPS Director Nazri.

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