Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli today (Feb 5) said in Parliament that it is not “feasible” to stop heavy rain and that Singaporeans should just let it flood.
“While the national water agency, PUB, takes into account factors such as terrain and rainfall intensity of the area when designing drains, it is not feasible to build them to a capacity that accommodates every extreme rainfall event… Building drains to accommodate “every extreme rainfall event” would require the Government to acquire massive amounts of land and much higher costs.”
The PAP Minister did not explain his definition of “extreme”, or how often the “extreme rain” occurs. Previously in 2009, his predecessor Yaacob Ibrahim said that such rain comes only once every 50 years. However, Singapore saw an average of 2 flooding occurrences each year over the past decade.
Minister Masagos Zulkifli also said that expanding a canal can cost a hundred million and yet there is “no guarantee”, so it is better to let it flood:
“Bedok Canal, which serves some of the affected areas, is being widened at a cost of S$128 million from its existing width of 38m to 44m, wide enough to accommodate an expressway of 10 lanes, five lanes each way. But even with this widening, there is no guarantee that there will not be floods in the future…Building our drains for extreme conditions would mean that much of the capacity would be extremely costly, but not needed most of the time.”
The Singapore government will be spending an estimated S$5 billion on Terminal 5, and at least S$12 billion on the military budget this year. The budget for People’s Association is also expected to exceed S$1 billion again, while the entire PAP administration cost S$53 million a year.