How can you mitigate floods without a masterplan, DAP man asks MPP chief

Chong (centre) shows the letter he received from MPP in response to his request for documentation concerning flood mitigation projects.

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By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Jan 3: Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen has called on Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) chairman Lo Khere Chiang to be more vigilant and responsible over complaints raised by residents on flood issues, as the latter has alleged that MPP does not have a master plan for flood mitigation in its jurisdictional areas.

Chong emphasised that on Dec 28, 2022, he wrote a letter to Lo requesting the master plan for flood mitigation projects as well as the detailed costs of each of the specific projects in specific areas within the Stampin and Kuching constituencies that are under MPP’s jurisdiction.

“I also asked him to send me copies of the letters MPP sent to the State and federal governments requesting funding for the aforementioned projects, including letters MPP sent to the five Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) federal ministers and six federal deputy ministers,” he told reporters today at a press conference held at DAP HQ here.

According to Chong, around 5pm on Dec 30, 2022, he received a letter from Lo declining the meeting that he had proposed for today at 10.30am at Lo’s office.

“What is even more shocking is that MPP does not have a master plan for flood mitigations in its area of jurisdiction, as stated in Lo’s letter.

“The reason for this is that MPP is the local authority where any development projects carried out in its area would be subject to MPP’s vetting and approval, including the drains, irrigation projects, facilities, and infrastructure that any development project required.

“So, if MPP does not have a master plan for irrigation and drainage in this area, how can MPP effectively approve the drainage system within its jurisdiction?” he claimed.

Chong, who is also Stampin MP and Padungan assemblyman, opined it is unsurprising that the frequency and severity of flash floods have been on the rise in recent years.

“And now, the reason has been revealed to me in this letter from YB Lo Khere Chiang, which is that MPP does not have a master plan for flood mitigation in its jurisdiction.

“Therefore, when a housing or commercial development project is proposed, it will only be approved on a case-by-case basis.

“And that is why, when there is heavy rainfall, the discharge of excess rainwater cannot be effectively discharged due to the simple fact that the Council has no master plan,” he added.

Furthermore, Chong urged MPP and the State government to be more responsive and responsible to the plights of residents in their jurisdictions.

“Otherwise, this flash flood problem will never be solved if MPP or other councils do not have a master plan for flood mitigation or drainage irrigation system in their respective jurisdiction,” he added.

Chong also noted that Lo did not write or request that the GPS government seek additional funding from the federal government to address the State’s flooding problems.

“Another issue raised by Lo in his letter is the flash flood problem in Kampung Quop, and in my previous letter to him, I suggested that he build an opening, just a covered drain, to help with the additional discharge of rainwater, for which he is asking for RM400 million, which is simply incomprehensible,” he said.

He further quoted Lo: “I believe that, with the complexity of the existing drainage issues at the Quop area, and as a long-term measure, it is appropriate to assume that RM400 million would be required to mitigate the flooding issues in that area, and this would not be seen as asking for the sky.”

“You are an engineer; please be more specific rather than assuming that this amount is sufficient,” the Sarawak DAP chairman added. — DayakDaily