El Nino phenomenon this year will be as bad as it was in the year 1997, predicted National Antarctica Research Centre (NARC) director Prof Datuk Dr Azizan Abu Samah.

He said this is based on the low rainfall across the country this year.

He said based on the experience in 1997, Malaysia must be able to plan and estimate the impact of the global weather phenomenon better, this time.

“Malaysia must be able to look at this phenomenon not just from the water supply angle in the Klang Valley especially but must also look out for possible outbreaks,” he said in an interview with Agenda AWANI, Wednesday.

“El Nino impacts Kuala Lumpur and water supply as a result of low rainfall,” he added.

“If it is too hot, states like Kedah may not be able to produce rice twice a year. If Thailand experiences the hot weather for too long, then the price of rice will go up. These things are inter-related,” he said.

Azizan also called on the government to revive the El Nino special cabinet committee which was set up last year.

The committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin monitored the impact of the dry spell from various aspects, including weather changes, health and agriculture.

It also monitored and implemented comprehensive mitigation measures at the national level to brace in all economic and social sectors.

Azizan also warned that Malaysia is still not prepared to face El Nino and lacked the expertise to face such phenomenon.

He also called on the government to invest in researches on weather changes.

The El Nino is predicted to persist until March 2016.

The 1997-1998 El Nino phenomenon brought severe drought and water rationing in Malaysia.