By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 28: Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian has attributed Dudong assemblyman Dato Sri Tiong King Sing’s lack of awareness regarding Sarawak government’s flood mitigation efforts in Sibu due to the latter’s absence during two occasions.
Dr Sim, who is Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government, emphasised that the Sarawak government, through the Land Custody and Development Authority (LCDA), had enlisted the services of Ramboll, a Danish consultant, to execute the Sibu Cloudburst Masterplan for the proposed urban renewal of Bukit Assek and its surrounding area.
“Ramboll had divided the study into four stages to be completed by May 2024, with the topographical and lidar survey work which covered approximately 250 km square area around Sibu town and costing around RM20 million commenced in May this year and has been completed.
“Flood risk assessment started in October 2023, the study area cloudburst masterplan and the detailed masterplan for Bukit Assek will start in January 2024,” he said when delivering his winding up speech for the Ministry during the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting today.
Furthermore, Dr Sim said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Redevelopment of Bukit Assek Project between Sunway Integrated Properties Sdn Bhd and LCDA was executed in Oct 19, 2023, witnessed by Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He was responding to Tiong, who is also Federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, who had raised the issue of Dudong constituents being frustrated over flash flood issues which have yet to be resolved for over 20 years.
Tiong mentioned that people of Sibu were also angered after learning the delegation led by Dr Sim to Denmark and the Netherlands on Feb 18, 2023 which claimed to be a mission to learn about water resource management and water control polices, but nothing of value seems to have been produced from these visits in the form of a realistic plan for flood mitigation in Sibu.
In this respect, Dr Sim informed that LCDA has updated the Premier regarding the Redevelopment of Bukit Assek project on Aug 7 during the State Development Coordination Committee meeting.
Subsequently, he added that the Premier had also shared the status of the project in a press conference which had received widespread coverage from both print and online media.
Highlighting that a major part of Sibu town including Dudong area is located in a low-lying area and subject to flooding, Dr Sim pointed out that a comprehensive flood mitigation project to protect Sibu from the overflowing of Batang Rajang and Batang Igan was outlined in the Sibu Town Drainage Masterplan 1998.
“The Sibu Flood Mitigation Plan (RTB) was approved by the government and implemented in phases with Phase 1 covering part of Dudong area and Phase 2 completed in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
“Phase 3 will be completed by the end of this year and Phase 4 covering Nangka area is currently in the pre-implementation stage. The fifth and final Phase of this project has been put up to the Federal government under Rolling Plan 4 of 12th Malaysia Plan,” he explained, while urging Tiong being a member of the Federal Cabinet to help secure the funding.
As for the status on the proposals for hydrography works at Batang Rajang and Batang Igan from the river estuary to Kapit town and Pelagus spanning 370km, Dr Sim reported that Phase 1 of the project has been completed in February this year.
“The recently concluded Phase 1 of hydrography survey works along 24 kilometres of Batang Rajang and 30 kilometres of Batang Igan shows minimal changes on the river profile as compared to a similar survey carried out in 2005. The minimal changes in river profile shows that the river is most probably in an equilibrium state. Therefore, dredging is not required at the moment,” he added.
Dr Sim also informed that a total of RM203.9 million for 60 flood mitigation and drainage projects throughout Sarawak were allocated to DID by various development agencies for the implementation of various flood mitigation, drainage improvement works and other related infrastructure works.
Of these, 38 projects have been completed, six flood mitigation projects in Sri Aman and Bintulu are expected to complete in 2024 while 16 are still under various stages of implementation.
Under Federal funded projects by Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, DID Sarawak received a total of RM83.02 million in 2023 for the implementation of various projects, including five flood mitigation projects in various divisions of which the Flood Mitigation Plan for Sibu (Phase 3) and for Sungai Stakan are under implementation and scheduled to be completed by first quarter of 2024. — DayakDaily