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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Dec 16: Admitting that it is a massive log jam, Sarawak Transport Ministry will initiate a discussion to clear the huge debris accumulating at the upper reaches of the Linau and the Balui.
In a WhatsApp response to DayakDaily, Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said the issue is older than Sarawak Transport Ministry and that it will need to be solved through the cooperation of all relevant agencies.
“This problem is not new or it is inherited in nature and was there even before the establishment of the Ministry Of Transport.
“Looking at the photos, it looks like a massive log jam which needs multiple agencies to address it based on their respective area of responsibility.
“For example, the removing of log will involve forest department and disposal of debris will involve NREB (Natural Resources and Environment Board) and for safety of navigation under SRB (Sarawak Rivers Board) as well for HEP (Hydroelectric Power) under SEB (Sarawak Energy),” said Lee.
He said his ministry needed to have proper survey of the affected area to prepare plan of action and funding requirement before any action to clear the log jam.
Meanwhile, NREB controller Justine Jok Jau Emang when contacted also stressed that the department has informed SEB, which has been entrusted to take care of the rivers feeding the Bakun HEP.
He explained that clearing of debris has been an on-going task for SEB and due to the constraint of movement during this Covid-19 pandemic, there may have been some delays in job delivery.
Through their representative Belaga assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang, the folks of upper Linau and Balui are calling on the relevant authorities to clear the huge deposition of debris that has been accumulating at the upper reaches of the Balui and the Linau.
Liwan thus appealed to the authorities concerned, especially to SRB and NREB to clear the debris soonest possible as it is dangerous for those living along the upper Balui and Linau to navigate along these affected rivers.
After checking on the sites, he said it is indeed a matter of urgent need to clear the debris as it impedes movement of the local folks whose main mode of transportation still lies on rivers and streams.
Liwan particularly pointed out that now as Christmas is approaching and in conjunction with the school holidays, those living in towns are going back to their respective longhouses to celebrate Christmas.
“It is this time of the year when there is a lot of movement by the people working in towns and cities, who would like to go back to be with their families. So I hope the relevant authorities will clear the debris as soon as possible to allow the people to move freely,” said Liwan. — DayakDaily