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Malaysia Estimates Damage from Deadly Floods at $1.46bn

Dozens of people died while more than 120,000 were displaced after heavy rain caused severe flooding in several states in December and January

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An aerial view shows vehicles and buildings inundated in Shah Alam's Taman Sri Muda, one of the worst hit neighbourhoods in Selangor. Photo: Reuters


Floods that had devastated much of Malaysia in recent weeks have caused an estimated 6.1 billion ringgit ($1.46 billion) in overall losses, a government report said on Friday.

Dozens of people died while more than 120,000 were displaced after unusually heavy rain caused severe flooding in several states in mid-December and early January.

In a report, the Department of Statistics said damage to public assets and infrastructure caused losses of 2 billion ringgit, followed by 1.6 billion ringgit in damage to homes.

Manufacturing losses accounted for 900 million ringgit, most of which were recorded in the central state of Selangor, one of the country’s wealthiest and populous regions surrounding Kuala Lumpur, the country’s commercial capital.

Selangor was also the worst hit overall, with about half of Malaysia’s losses recorded in the state, the report said. The department also reported heavy damage to vehicles, business premises and the agricultural sector.

Malaysia’s government has previously said it would provide about 1.4 billion ringgit ($334.37 million) in cash aid and other forms of relief to those affected by the floods.

The economy is starting to recover gradually from the Covid-19 crisis, following a tumultuous 2020 and 2021.

An emerging recovery is helped by vaccinations reaching critical mass and falling infection rates, allowing for a safer and wider domestic reopening, and considerations to relax international border restrictions.

“Supportive economic policies – as seen from the expansionary budget in 2022 – should also bode well for growth prospects going into this year,” a DBS Bank report noted.

“While the domestic economy is recovering from the pandemic, the extent of scarring impact on the real economy is difficult to gauge,” the report said.

Malaysia – a modest net oil exporter – should benefit from rising oil prices in the near term, but China’s slowdown is a dark cloud that would prevent Malaysia from expanding at a faster pace.

“We think that policy will start to normalise, but is likely to be modest and drawn-out, staying sufficiently loose to avoid derailing the nascent recovery,” DBS said.


  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell



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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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