Putrajaya allocates RM150m to tackle flash flood woes in Kuching

Dr Yii fielding questions from reporters as Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong looks on.

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Dec 12: Putrajaya will set aside RM150 million to address flash flood issues here, particularly in the city centre.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the funds would be used for a flood mitigation project known as ‘Pembangunan Lembangan Sungai Bersepadu (PLSB) Sg Sarawak’, which would be undertaken by the federal government.

The allocation would be released by the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources, and the necessary appointments, including architects, engineers and surveyors, would be done next year. Physical construction is expected to start in 2020.

The project would include upgrading the drainage system at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), government quarters in Kuching, Batu Lintang, SK Muara Tuang, Samarahan and also along the Kuching-Samarahan expressway.

This is on top of flood mitigation plans at Sg Gersik and Sg Sinjan, including the construction of a riverwall from Kampung Bedil to Kampung Lintang in the city.

“Dr Xavier Jayakumar, the Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources, has given the assurance that the federal government would release the RM150 million fund for the flood mitigation project.

“This is based on a parliamentary answer given by his ministry yesterday in the Parliamentary Special Chambers (which will be on record) in response to a question I posed to them with regards to the flash flood that hit multiple areas in Kuching on Nov 22 this year,” Dr Yii told a press conference at the state DAP headquarters here today.

Areas affected by the flash flood following hours of downpour in Kuching on Nov 22 included SGH, Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, Padang Merdeka, Lintang Park Utara, Lorong Lintang Park Selatan 1, Jalan Ellis, Jalan Padungan as well as Tabuan Dayak.

Dr Yii said several areas in the city centre, especially the low lying areas, were often hit with flash floods on an annual basis due to multiple factors, including poor drainage systems.

“The ministry also explained the reasons behind the flash flood (Nov 22), which include heavy rainfall of 82mm in an hour as well as ineffective and blocked drainage systems caused by rubbish, mud and other sediments, especially from nearby construction sites.

“The ministry also informed that all these drainage systems, while built by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage, had been surrendered to the local council, who has the responsibility to maintain, repair and clean them based on the agreed schedule,” he added.

He said the rainfall on Nov 22 was recorded at the Wisma Saberkas-SGH area.

For the long run, Dr Yii revealed that Putrajaya was looking to allocate RM1.8 billion under the 12th Malaysia Plan to construct a flood control system that would address flooding problems in Kuching.

“In the meantime, the ministry will work together with the local councils to clear blockages that led to the slow flowing of water to the river.

“We need to address this issue that has plagued residents of Kuching for so long. We do not want any more inconveniences, damage to property or even loss of lives due to incidents such as flash flood, which can be mitigated,” he added. — DayakDaily