Sabah government concocts plans to tackle flood issues

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Government, together with the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), have drawn up several "improved" plans to tackle flood issues in the state.

Agriculture and Food Industries Minister Junz Wong, whose ministry oversees the DID, said flood woes in areas including Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Sepanggar, Putatan, Kota Belud and Tawau remained long standing issues which needed immediate intervention.

"For us now, some of our plans are to upgrade existing drainage systems and deepen rivers," he said when responding to questions at the state legislative assembly sitting here Tuesday.

He said for example in Kota Kinabalu, short, medium and long-term structural plans are being drawn up.

"We are also looking at non-structural plans to tackle flood issues here," Wong said.

He said these plans, estimated to cost up to RM1.93bil, are expected to go on until 2032.

For Penampang, several projects involving the two main rivers of Sugud and Moyog valued at about RM365.5mil are being carried out.

Another flood prone area is Kota Belud, where the problem started to intensify following the June 5 quake in 2015, where sedimentations are causing rivers to become shallower.

Wong said mitigation programmes among others were being carried out.

He said the estimated cost of this is RM300mil.

"Similar methods are also being looked at for other areas like Putatan and Tawau," he said.

Earlier this week, Wong had said that the state government would need about RM3bil to solve flood issues in Sabah.

He said RM512.05mil has been approved in the 11th Malaysia Plan for this purpose.

Other aspects such as hill cutting, reclamation of wetlands and low-lying areas, encroachment to river corridors or reserves had also contributed to the problem.

Wong suggested for future developments to adopt flood resilient and water sensitive designs.

"The community must also play its part to not simply throw rubbish in rivers and drains," he added.