‘Stop making excuses, release approved RM150m for flood mitigation now’

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 27: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) wants the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to stop making excuses to retain the RM150 million approved by the previous government for flood mitigation projects here.

Its Youth secretary, Milton Foo, said the allocation should be released immediately so that flood mitigation work could continue.

Foo made the call following flash floods in several areas of the city, including Sarawak General Hospital (SGH), Padang Merdeka, Saujana Building at Jalan Masjid, Taman Malihah, Jalan Bentara, Kampung Sinar Budi and Jalan Batu Kawa after several hours of a downpour last Thursday evening.

“I hope the PH government is not finding or stop finding anymore excuses by playing politics or using linguistic tactics such as (using) ‘review’ or ‘put on hold’ to disguise the approved flood mitigation work at the SGH area but to immediately release the RM150 million to DID Sarawak without further delay,” he told a press conference at SUPP headquarters here today.

If the approved sum was not substantiated, Foo suggested that the PH government call for an open tender to decide the costs, instead of letting the flood mitigation project get stuck.

Foo claimed that many members of the public had questioned the status and progress of the flood mitigation works, which led him to pay a visit to the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Sarawak yesterday.

“According to DID Sarawak, resolving the flash flood problems in SGH and its vicinity have been incorporated as one of the components under the proposed RM150 million ‘Pembangunan Lembangan Sungai Bersepadu (PLSB) Sungai Sarawak’ that was funded and approved by the previous BN (Barisan Nasional) government.

“However, the project is, unfortunately, being reviewed by the PH government. What do you mean ‘review’ when the RM150 million fund is already there, specifically for Kuching flood mitigation works?” he questioned.

The money, he believed, was now parked in the Ministry of Finance under Lim Guan Eng.

Taking Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen and Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii to task, Foo asked what had they done to fight for this allocation to be released immediately to DID Sarawak and to solve the flash flood problems in Kuching.

“Have you (Chong) fought (for the fund release) in Parliament or in the Cabinet? This money is already there and what are you waiting for? You have been there for five months, and we have not seen any flood mitigation works continued. MP Kelvin Yii, as well, have you raised this up in the Parliament to the Finance Minister, who is the DAP national secretary-general?

“Don’t wait. Don’t play politics. Don’t play linguistic tactics because the people of Kuching want to see action. You are now in the government and no longer in the opposition. I am not in Parliament or an elected representative, and I can only voice and fight for the people’s plights through press conferences,” he said.

Foo called upon the PH government to act like ‘the government of the day’ instead of getting stuck in their past ‘opposition’ role and for Sarawakian elected representatives to put Sarawak and Sarawakians first. — DayakDaily