By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Dec 16: Heavy downpour and heavy siltation in Baram River are among the main causes of flooding in Marudi area now, stated Marudi Assemblyman Datu Dr Penguang Manggil.
“Firstly, there is heavy downpour in the upper reaches of the Baram River at Ulu Tutoh Apoh. At the same time King Tides is also occurring. Secondly, the river is now shallower due to siltation,” Penguang told reporters at PDP Media Night held on Dec 15.
The former Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) controller rejected the idea of dredging the Baram River, calling it a short-term measure.
“The sedimentation and siltation is the result of various human activities such as logging and plantation activities. So the same volume of water flowing down that river as before has caused the flooding,” he said.
Penguang stated that this was the second time Marudi had been affected by a flood of this magnitude since the great flood of 1963.
“The 1963 flood was worse than we have ever had. So far only low lying areas are affected this time, especially roads,” he said.
A total of 46 areas across the Marudi state constituency have been affected by flood: 12 in Marudi district and 44 in Beluru.
“But so far, they don’t need relocation yet.
“Currently, my service centre and the district offices in Marudi and Beluru have mobilised themselves to assist the flood victims. Other government agencies are also assisting.
“My men also go to the ground to update me on the latest situation,” he said, adding that he too will go whenever he could.
On the coming state elections, Penguang, who also Assistant Minister of Local Council said he was ready to defend his seat from any challengers, including his predecessor, Datuk Sylvester Entrie Muran.
“I believe the people still need my service and so far, so good because the people can see what I have done in the past three-and-half years. For example, I have helped in the completion of the Miri-Marudi Road, the Marudi Bridge, the Marudi Waterfront, the town’s retention wall, the restoration of Fort Hose and the amenities such as water and electricity supplies,” he said.
Penguang said if he were to be re-elected, his main focus over the following five years would be on basic needs, such as water, electricity, roads and other infrastructure, communication, improving agriculture activities as well as improving the livelihood for the B40 income group.