Up to RM40mil needed to repair Kundasang landslide damage, says Bung Moktar

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has estimated that between RM30 mil to RM40 mil is needed for work to repair damage caused by the Kundasang landslide near the Kinabalu National Park entrance, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

He said that the state government will seek funding assistance from the federal government, adding that work on the hilly area will begin after a risk assessment study and comprehensive discussions have been completed by the relevant agencies.

On early Wednesday (Jan 20) morning, the parking lot located below the national park collapsed due to the continuous downpour since the week before.

The parking lot was already cordoned off due to soil movement since last year.

At present, only one lane is opened for traffic flow there, and the restaurant next to the parking lot has been closed for operation since the movement control order started.

“This will be a collaboration between agencies in my Ministry, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry as well as geologists to ensure this area is not only safe for use but can be developed again,” said Bung, who is also the state Public Works Minister.

“There is a way, but we need some time, the study on soil movement must be taken account of. We do not want a repeat, re-building only for it to collapse again, so there must be a comprehensive discussion,” he added after visiting the location in Kundasang, Ranau on Sunday (Jan 24).

On damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure in Sabah due to the flooding and landslides caused by bad weather, Bung estimated that the total cost of all repairs in the state would be about RM150mil.

“Initially over 100 roads were not accessible due to the natural disasters. But now with the speedy action from the Public Works Department (PWD), there are only about 17 roads which we are looking into,” he added.

Bung Moktar said the PWD team is also tackling the road and bridge connectivity issue in remote Pitas as they have completed restoring the Telaga Bridge and will be moving into Kampung Liu on Sunday to fix the infrastructure there.

Meanwhile, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jaffry Ariffin said he has spoken to Bung Moktar to give priority to restoring the Kundasang area, as it was a popular spot.

Asked about the state government’s recovery plan for the tourism industry, he said that there is always engagement with the industry players to revive the tourism sector here, but everything is based on the updated directives from the government.

“I believe that once the MCO ends, state tourism can start growing again and contribute to Sabah’s economy,” said Jaffry, adding that continued assistance are rendered through Bantuan Prihatin Covid-19 initiatives.

Asked to comment on the discovery of an elephant killed in Tongod district earlier this week, he reiterated that the Ministry views such crimes against wildlife seriously and hope the authorities would make thorough investigations to apprehend and take actions against those involved.

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