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KUCHING, March 21: Dudong assemblyman Dato Sri Tiong King Sing disagrees with the proposal to build Sarawak’s largest water catchment area in Bukit Assek to tackle the long standing issue of flooding in the area.
He asserted the Bukit Assek Redevelopment Plan is a good plan but one which may not be workable.
“I acknowledge that the Bukit Assek Redevelopment Plan is a good plan for the long-term development of the whole area, but I do not agree with the proposal to build Sarawak’s largest water catchment water bodies in the area at present.
“If the irrigation and drainage problems in the area are not addressed first, what will happen if these artificial water bodies exceed capacity and overflow due to rain? Where will this overflow of water go?” questionec Tiong who is also the Bintulu MP.
He opined that this is why it is important to dredge and deepen the main rivers in Sibu including the related tributaries to overcome Bukit Assek’s flood problems.
“Apart from Sg Rajang and Sg Igan, other rivers in Sibu such as Sg Seduan, Sg Salim and Sg Teku which are silty also need to be dredged and deepened immediately,” said Tiong.
He pointed out that the shallow condition of the rivers and presence of garbage in them will prevent river waters from flowing smoothly and rapidly.
Instead of focusing entirely on the construction of water catchment lakes and water retaining walls in Bukit Assek, Tiong proposed that fundamental issues related to smooth discharges of river waters needed to be tackled first.
“We need to ensure that the rivers involved are dredged and the movement of river waters to the sea flow smoothly.
“Plans to build water retaining structures at this point are feared to only make it difficult for us to control the situation and may even worsen the situation to create more flash floods,” said Tiong in a statement yesterday.
Tiong who is also the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China said the overall living environment at Bukit Assek area has been deteriorating as compared to when he was younger.
He asserted that years of various residential, commercial and development projects which were not well managed have resulted in problematic drainage and faulty irrigation systems. The situation has been exacerbated by active logging upstream which caused heaving siltation in rivers while the huge peat areas in Sibu are not helping, he added.
“Take a look at Kuala Lumpur which has many artificial lakes or water catchment ponds. Due to river drainage being clogged and garbage in the Klang River, floods have been rampant.
“Thus, the proposal to build more water catchment lakes will not help us overcome the problem if the fundamentals involving irrigation or drainage systems are not addressed properly,” said Tiong. — DayakDaily