KUALA LUMPUR: The first floor of buildings and homes should be raised above floodwaters to reduce damage from the recurring disaster, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir said the first floor – lobby or entrance hall – of a building should be raised to about 3.6m or more above the level of the street with concrete walls surrounding the space below the first floor extending down to surround the car park below the building.
In the latest post on his blog at www.chedet.cc, Dr Mahathir said that a ramp must be built from the road to the entrance of the building on the first floor and another ramp for the cars to drive down to the multi-level car park below.
“The road will become virtual drains during the floods due to the rain or tide.
“This will help the floodwaters to drain into the canals or rivers as soon as the tide goes down or the rain stops,” he said.
In the east coast where floods regularly occur during the monsoon season, Dr Mahathir said, the simplest solution was to go back to building houses on stilts like old Malay houses.
“The first floor of the houses must be above the highest floodwater mark. The stilts supporting the houses must be sturdy and buried deep in the ground. Concrete should be used,” he said.
To prevent cars from being submerged in floods during the monsoon season, Dr Mahathir suggested that a ramp be built to allow cars to be driven up to the first floor.
He said the Government had spent a substantial amount of money for flood relief and by insisting that houses be built on stilts, the money would be saved.
“Part of the savings can be used to subsidise the cost of the stilts, at least initially. The house-owners or occupants too would save money,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said if the idea was to be accepted, architects could design the stilts to look attractive while competitions could also be held for new styles of houses on stilts.
“If we don’t do something, thousands will have to be evacuated and a few will lose their lives every year. And lots of money would be wasted on food, evacuation and repairing flood damage,” he said. — Bernama