News: Cabinet committee set up as Malaysia braces for El Nino

The Star, 15 May 2014

PUTRAJAYA: A special cabinet committee has been set up as the country braces for the El Nino phenomenon from June to September due to the dry Southwest Monsoon, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He said the committee would be headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin while the secretariat would be hosted by the ministry.

“The special cabinet committee will monitor the devastating impact of the dry spell (brought about by El Nino) from various aspects, including weather changes, health and agriculture.

“The committee will also monitor and implement comprehensive mitigation measures at the national level to brace for the El Nino phenomenon in all economic and social sectors,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

Ongkil said the committee would take over the role of the Water Crisis Committee, which was set up by the ministry during the water rationing exercise from January to April.

He said the committee would be made up of representatives from the Health Ministry, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry, the Finance Ministry, and the National Security Council.

Apart from the Malaysian Meteorological Department’s forecast, he said the World Meteorology Organisation predicted that the El Nino phenomenon could persist from six to 18 months, and if this were to happen t would worsen the national water supply situation.

Meanwhile, Ongkili urged state governments to take immediate steps to ensure enough raw water supply and protect water sources to avoid inadequate supply of treated water to consumers.

While urging domestic and industrial users to use water prudently, he said industrial users should take steps to reduce the impact of water crisis by using underground water, recycling water, using water-efficient equipments, and increasing the capacity of water storage tanks. – Bernama