Lau queries Sibu MP’s criticism over state funding of Sibu flood mitigation project

Robert Lau

KUCHING, Aug 12: Senator Robert Lau claims to be perplexed by Sibu MP Oscar Ling’s remarks questioning Sarawak government using the state coffers to fund and implement Phase IV of the flood mitigation project in Sibu which comes under federal jurisdiction.

Lau thus questioned back if it was wrong for the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government to take up the project when the federal side had been slow and not willing to fund and implement the project.

“Phase 3 of the project worth RM99 million was approved by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in 2017 or thereabouts and the work is still ongoing.

“After Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over as the federal government after GE14 in 2018, there were no more funds for this project. The Sarawak government decided to step in,” he pointed out in a statement today.

Recalling that Ling had served as MP for more than seven years and 22 months under the PH federal government, Lau asked how much funding Ling had helped to secure from the federal government to carry out flood mitigation projects in Sibu.

“Do you (Ling) oppose the Sarawak government effort to carry out the project worth RM120 million for Sibu flood mitigation?” he questioned.

“I am perplexed to read your negative remarks, questioning the good intention of the Sarawak government’s effort to solve the flooding problem of Sibu, the very town you represent,” he responded.

The flood mitigation project, Lau emphasised, did not end at Phase 4 although it was critical missing link as it was one of the lowest points in the master plan.

“The master plan covers the whole stretch from Upper Lanang to Sg Seduan at Sungai Merah with another three more pump stations and building 3.5 km of bunds. This will be Phase 5 with an estimated cost of RM280 million,” he added.

Meanwhile, Ling was reported in a local daily yesterday (Aug 11) to be saying that the state government should not use the state coffers to fund federal projects, positing whether the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, which GPS was aligned to, had sidelined Sarawak.

He also questioned whether there was some sort of negotiation between the state and federal government that perhaps prompted the state government to be willing to fund the flood mitigation project.

Ling was responding to Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Dr Annuar Rapaee who had on Aug 10 revealed that the state government had agreed, in principle, to fund the project which would be commissioned under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).—DayakDaily