Sarawak only state without slope protection system

KUCHING, Oct 6: Sarawak government has spent hundreds of millions annually in slope reparing works.

According to Infrastructure and Port Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, the inherent ground conditions, design and construction errors plus lack of maintenance of slopes, are major causes to slope failures.

“Slope management that includes slope inventory plus management system is not something new. The incidence of highland Tower in 1993 which resulted in 48 deaths was a wakeup call to the West Malaysian authorities concerned to come up with appropriate policies for slope management monitoring and maintenance.

“So far, slope protection system has been implemented in West Malaysia and Sabah except for Sarawak,” said Masing in a statement today.

With 8000km of State Roads to maintain, he said it is timely that Sarawak government establishes its own slope inventory, assessment and maintenance system for the state roads.

“With more roads to be built in the rural areas which involves cutting of slopes along mountainous areas under 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), it is imminent that our ministry protect these assets that we have built before they are affected by any slope failures.

“Preventive measures should be implemented to avoid costly remedial works.

“A recent visit by my Ministry to Baleh HEP access road revealed that although still under construction, numerous slope failures have already occurred along the access road.

“It is therefore imminent that slope failures along this road be assessed, monitored and maintained before the road is handed over to JKR,” said Masing who is also Deputy Chief Minister.

He said a drive Chief Minister from Sibu to Kapit few days ago has also shown that integrity of some SEB Towers structures are under threat by slope failures.

“Slopes with unacceptable risk conditions along state roads should be identified to ensure safe, uninterrupted, and reliable usage of our infrastructure.

“Besides ensuring safe passage and mitigating risks of villagers being disconnected during incidences of slope failures, slope protection monitoring is equally important to ensure that the integrity of our telecommunication towers, electricity poles, gas and water pipelines remains intact,” said Masing. —DayakDaily