Federal, Sarawak govts told to prioritise completion of delayed RM150 mln flood mitigation project in Kuching

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, March 15: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen urged both the federal and Sarawak governments to take serious measures to ensure that there will be no further delays to the urgent RM150 million flood mitigation project in Kuching.

He said that the project was supposed to be implemented to address the flash floods issues plaguing many low-lying areas.

“This has caused so much inconvenience and property damage to the public, including the flash floods that has happened recently in different parts of Kuching,” he said in a statement.

“This issue was raised by me in Parliament to demand answers and clarification for the constant delay of the project and demanded for it to be prioritised.”

Dr Yii disclosed that this RM150 million project known as Pembangunan Lembangan Sungai Bersepadu (PLSB) Sungai Sarawak covers nine project locations, including drainage upgrades in five locations including Sarawak General Hospital(SGH), the government quarters at Jalan Tun Jugah, Batu Lintang area, SK Muara Tuang, Samarahan and also the drainage along Jalan Kuching-Samarahan Expressway.

Besides that, there will be projects to build flood barriers along Sungai Gersik, and Sungai Sinjan and also dredging and deepening of Sungai Tengah and Sungai Minjab.

Dr Yii said that the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID), Sarawak has been given the authority to carry out the implementation and monitoring of the project.

According to Dr Yii, the federal funding was released for this project at the end of 2018 after an initial review, as announced by the then Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

“So, based on their briefing the process of project planning and also tendering and appointment of contractors should have been finalised by Nov 2019 and the detailed designing process, including land acquisition and an investigation, was to be carried out from Dec 2019 to Dec 2020.

“The physical construction of the project was supposed to start in 2021 and is expected to take about 4 years.

“However, the project was further delayed and based on the answer given in Parliament, DID only put forth the Sitting Application for land acquisition on the Dec 29, 2021 to the Land & Survey Department Sarawak,” he lamented.

He further stressed that DID also discussed the acquisition of the Government Quarters with the Sarawak Federal Secretary’s Office on Jan 4, 2022, and had a meeting on Jan 21, 2022 to discuss the acquisition of land in the other nine locations for the project.

“DID through the Sarawak government has also put forth an appeal to the Land & Survey Department on Jan 10, 2022 to expedite the “Sitting Application” due to the urgency of the project and also the need to address the increasing occurrence of flash floods that has hit Kuching,” he further shared.

“In December 2022, DID only got approval from the State Planning Authority (SPA) for the nine project locations. Currently, all the projects have completed their detailed design process and are in the stage of tender document preparation.

“Such steps were initially stated to be completed in the year 2020, but was delayed until now with physical construction only slated earliest in the start of 2024 and is expected to take up to 4 years to be completed,” he lamented.

“I have expressed my dissatisfaction with the delay and urged them to ensure that there are no more delays and make additional steps to pressure the relevant government agencies to expedite the necessary approvals,” he said. — DayakDaily