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SIBU, Oct 13: Out of the Sarawak government’s RM10 million allocation to survey the Rajang and Igan rivers, it is entirely disappointing that only RM2.8 million has been released so far this year for the purpose.
Climate change and global warming continue to worsen year after year, making the rainy season more unpredictable and the works to dredge and deepen riverbeds have become more urgent.
“Because of this, the authorities must quickly release the remaining RM7.2 million to speed up the progress of the riverbed survey works because the affected residents can no longer live with the effects of climate change,” said Dudong assemblyman Tiong King Sing in a press statement today.
“I strongly urge Sarawak Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian to step in and expedite matters at the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) in order to get the necessary survey works for both rivers completed as soon as possible, given the current weather conditions.
“With the survey data in hand, we would then be able to effectively implement riverbed dredging works and bring on a more able flood mitigation plan.”
He said he had conveyed the need to release the remaining RM7.2 million allocation as soon as possible to Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Tiong, who is also incumbent Bintulu MP claimed that currently, the water level at the Bakun Dam is at alarming levels. Once this warning line is exceeded, the water will need to be released.
He said continuous heavy rain for the past few days has plagued many low-lying areas in Sibu with flash floods. For decades, the people have been under immense stress, especially farmers.
Floods inevitably wash away all painstaking efforts to grow crops, and the ground floors of double-story residences have been submerged with assets and properties damaged or destroyed instantly.
“The economic losses and emotional trauma felt by the people are heavy and in no way sufficiently compensated by the subsidies given by the government.
He believed that only by implementing the needed dredging works of the riverbeds soon and allowing rainwaters to flow naturally to the Rajang and Igan Rivers, can the flooding issue in Sibu be effectively solved. — DayakDaily