Sarawak DAP urges authorities to expedite RM150 mln-flood mitigation project in Kuching

From left: Kong, Chong, a DID Sarawak representative, Dr Yii and Yong pose for a photo during the courtesy call at DID Sarawak today (Jan 24, 2022).

KUCHING, Jan 24: Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) calls for both federal and Sarawak governments to expedite Kuching’s RM150 million-flood mitigation project Pembangunan Lembangan Sungai Bersepadu (PLSB) Sungai Sarawak.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the project appeared to have been overlooked by the federal and State governments, and that the open tender of these separate flood mitigation projects had been delayed time and again.

Today Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong, special assistant to Chong, Michael Kong, and Dr Yii paid a courtesy visit to Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Sarawak to follow up on the progress of the flood mitigation project which is a long-term measure to address the longstanding flood issues of Bandar Kuching and Stampin.

The project encompasses nine locations including the upgrading of drainage in five locations including Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), the government quarters at Jalan Tun Jugah, Batu Lintang, SK Muara Tuang, Samarahan and also the drainage along Jalan Kuching-Samarahan Expressway.

Besides that, it also involves projects of building flood barriers along Sg Gersik, Sg Sinjan and also dredging and deepening of Sungai Tengah and Sungai Minjab.

Dr Yii said the meeting today was a follow-up meeting with DID to find out more about the progress of the flood mitigation project.

He revealed DID Sarawak is a State department which has been given the authority to implement and monitor the project while federal funding was released at the end of 2018 after an initial review as announced by the then minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

“The physical construction of the project was supposed to start in 2021 and is expected to take about four years. However, based on the latest updates, the project has been delayed even further with the award of tender to the Engineering Consultant Jurutera Jasa only done in February 2020 to do the initial planning and drawings before a surveyor was selected in April 2021.

“Currently all plans and drawings have been completed and submitted for approval by the Sarawak Planning Authority (SPA) at the end of 2021. Only with the approval of SPA and the completion of the Value Engineering (VE) will then the tender be called for the nine project locations which may happen around May or April 2022.

“This means physical construction can only start at the end of 2022, with the project expected to finish in three to four years,” said Dr Yii.

Expressing his dissatisfaction with the delay, Dr Yii urged the authorities to take all steps to pressure the relevant government agencies to expedite the necessary approvals including SPA so that tender can be called for as soon as possible so that physical construction can commence and be finished as soon as possible for the public’s convenience.

“We also raised the issues of flash flood in different areas around our constituencies including the need for the Jalan Laksamana Cheng Ho drainage improvement work, to be done as well as the proposed construction of a barrage near Sungai Tabuan as a more effective solution to resolve flooding in areas such at Jalan Foochow and even Sungai Apong.

“We will continue to monitor and push for the process to be expedited so that it will not cause too much inconvenience to the public. I will be also putting in a question to Parliament to seek an answer and clarification for the delay of the implementation of the PLSB and demand for it to be prioritised and neglected no longer,” said Dr Yii. — DayakDaily