Pan Borneo highway project, indiscriminate dumping among factors for flash floods in Sabah, says Bung


KOTA KINABALU: The ongoing construction of the Pan Borneo Highway and lack of awareness among locals on trash dumping has contributed to the worsening flash floods in many parts of Sabah, says Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (pic).

The state Public Works Minister said he won’t deny that the Pan Borneo project could be among the reasons for it, but there were many other factors contributing to its frequency.

“Another thing about Sabahans is that the awareness level on cleanliness is low. Where there is a hole, it becomes a dump site. All of our drains are full of trash,” he said.

Bung said this during the question and answer session of the State Assembly meeting here on Wednesday (Sept 22).

The Lamag assemblyman and deputy chief minister said increased development that might not have taken into account proper utility planning - such as drainage and irrigation systems - were also another factor.

“That is why we will be having a meeting on Sept 24 to discuss all these issues and hopefully come up with a holistic measure to reduce the severity and frequency of flash floods in Sabah,” he said.

Asked if changes can still be made on road work designs and other development projects that are seen as flood contributing factors, Bung said yes.

“Come to the ministry office to talk to me about these issues and concerns, we can work things out,” he said.

Earlier, he explained that concessionaires and contractors in charge of drainage and irrigation cleaning and other related works were always on time to do their jobs.

Bung said if there were delays or non-compliance in their job scopes, notices or warning letters would have been issued but so far, there have been none issued this year.

In fact, the ministry had ensured that some areas had even more maintenance work done due to the current conditions, he said.

As of Tuesday, Sabah has already seen three major flash floods in September alone.

Meanwhile, to a question on the implementation of sales tax on fisheries commodities, state Assistant Finance Minister Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan said that it has been extended in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said as agreed prior to this, the implementation of this sales tax would benefit Sabah and the fisheries Industry, and therefore there was no reason for it to be cancelled.

Payment, however, would be postponed from May 1 to Dec 31 this year, he said.
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