See: Let’s not wait for another flash flood before we act

KUCHING: Members of the august House have been urged not to wait for another flash flood in Kuching to occur before realising they have not done anything to resolve or mitigate this problem.

See Chee How (PKR-Batu Lintang) said flash floods had threatened the lives and properties of urban dwellers, paralysing and incapacitating important public institutions such as the Sarawak General Hospital, schools and even the state police headquarters and Fire and Rescue Department.

“We have lost two precious lives to flash floods in Kuching four years ago. But barely a month ago, there was another news report that a trainee nurse fell into the monsoon drain of strong flowing water. She was lucky her colleague managed to grab her arm in the nick of time,” he said in his debate on the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri’s address yesterday.

See commended Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) for taking steps to plan, design and tender out projects to tackle flash floods in and around Padang Merdeka.

“However, as the Honourable Kuching North City Mayor had said, it requires the joint efforts of all departments and authorities concerned to ensure that the methods and solutions to tackle flash floods are effective. I do earnestly believe that this administration is serious with arresting the problem of flash floods in Kuching city.”

As the state government had approved the Sarawak Urban Storm Water Management Manual (SUStoM) for new development areas as a long term measure to tackle flash flood problem, he hoped a copy of this manual would be made available to all elected representatives.

See also hoped the State Planning Authority and local authorities had the political will to implement the terms and measures contained in the manual.

“Let it not be the case whereby existing good laws and regulations are not enforced. A case in point is Section 23 of the Building Ordinance 1994, whereby local authorities may give landowners and developers to cause proper drains to be constructed or laid for premises that are not properly drained.”

See noted that for the medium term, Local Government Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian had revealed that it involved upgrading major drain outlets in certain areas, including Sarawak General Hospital (at a cost of RM15 million), Jalan Batu Lintang (RM20 million), Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho (RM25 million), Federal Quarters (RM15 million), Sungai Tabuan dredging works (RM2 million) and Taman Malihah (RM22 million).

“I hope the Honourable Minister will enlighten us in his winding-up speech whether the implementation of these medium term measures are included in the projects that are approved under the first rolling plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan amounting to RM357 million and when can we expect these projects to be tendered out and be completed.”

In noting that flood and flash floods mitigation projects in Sarawak was an area that had been long neglected by the Federation, See said one of the first studies for flood and flash flood mitigation, was completed with the help of experts from the Netherlands in 1985, but the project proposals were shelved.

“If the flood mitigation measures and projects were carried out 30 years back, they would have cost only a fraction of what they will cost us today, and we would not have suffered the losses and damage of flash floods today, not forgetting that the holistic studies had also covered advices on planning of urban development.”

Therefore, See said the state administration must show their commitment to arrest the problems today and to implement the projects to ensure that the future wellbeing of the state and the people were secured.

“We can agree that devolution of power will take time, but the federation must be made to see the urgency of the matters involved.

“We are giving time for those in Putrajaya at our own peril. Our Honourable Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing (Datuk Fatimah Abdullah) had earlier revealed that we have more than 400 schools classified as high risk. That is another of the many areas that speaks of the neglects by the Federation.”- Borneo Post

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