Motion to discuss Bengoh Dam seepage dismissed

Sarawak Legislative Assembly Sitting, November 2017

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KUCHING, Nov 15: Another private member motion, this time to seek a discussion on the Bengoh Dam seepage, was shot down by State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar in the State Legislative Assembly today.

The emergency motion was moved by PKR Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How for the assembly to discuss the urgent matter of Bengoh Dam seepages and the appointment of an independent consultant to audit the safety of the dam.

See said the minister concerned — Utilities Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi — “had only consulted and was briefed by the contractor and consultant whose reports and information are misleading, contradictory, self-serving at best and not contemporaneous”.

However, Mohd Asfia said Dr Rundi had answered the queries raised.

“The Minister of Utilities is in the know as he and his staff spent hours attending the briefing by the contractor and consultant, and therefore, there is no urgency,” he said.

On See’s view that the contractor and consultant was misleading and contradictory, the speaker said See was making presumptions and had taken an “alarmist” view towards the matter.

Referring to Dr Rundi’s explanation in the press conference yesterday, Asfia insisted that the safety of the Bengoh Dam was not compromised.

Meanwhile, another opposition member Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen tried to interject by pointing out that Mohd Asfia should not be the one answering the questions raised by See.

Chong, who is also state DAP chairman, said Asfia was an appointed and not an elected member in the State Legislative Assembly and thus should not be answering any questions raised by elected members of the House.

Despite Chong’s attempt to protest, he was not given the opportunity to continue speaking and Mohd Asfia dismissed the motion after reading out Dr Rundi’s full explanation.

Dr Rundi explained yesterday at a press conference that the dam’s safety was confirmed by the dam consultant and their specialist from Halcrow Consultant, United Kingdom, during their recent periodic inspection visit to the site in late October 2017.

“In the construction of concrete dams, construction, contraction and thermal movement joints are part of the structure. Some water flow through these joints is expected.

“What was seen on site was actually a designed contraction joint, and not a crack as alleged. Some seepage through the joint are expected, and the wet patch seen on this area is due to this seepage,” said Dr Rundi.

The Bengoh Dam has been operational since the end of 2015. — DayakDaily