Sabahans in flood-prone areas urged to listen to authorities

KOTA KINABALU: As the state works toward a holistic solution to Sabah’s flood woes, villagers are urged to cooperate with authorities when told to relocate or refrain from building homes on land reserves meant for drainage and other infrastructure.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) said of the recent floods in Penampang, Putatan, Kota Kinabalu and other areas, it was clear that existing flood mitigation studies needed to be updated while mitigation projects must be done.

He said projects such as widening of drains and rivers as well as compensation to affected home and land owners needed huge fundings, while cooperation from villagers themselves were also needed.

Any new builds and development projects must also be approved and pass the environmental assessment requirements among other conditions, he said.

Kitingan was answering a question by Likas assemblyman Tan Lee Fatt on the budget allocated for flood mitigation and solutions in Sabah, during the state assembly meeting here, Thursday (Sept 23).

He said that existing projects - including those in Menggatal, Telipok, Lido, and around areas under Kota Kinabalu - cost almost RM400mil.

He said an estimated RM3bil was needed to holistically mitigate floods in some of the flood prone zones including Penampang, Putatan and Kota Kinabalu, but funding was an issue.

Kitingan said apart from human errors, climate change must also be factored in when experts are called in to find flood mitigation solutions that can work for the next 10 to 20 years.

Meanwhile, Usukan assemblyman Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak asked state Public Works minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin on the plans to improve water supply for folks in Kota Belud district.

He said the situation worsened following the 2015 Mount Kinabalu quake, which loosened earth and rocks, causing the Kadamaian river- where most of the main water supply is sourced- to be polluted.

Bung explained there were two projects relating to this that are ongoing. One, he said, was expected to be completed by the end of this year and another is still under the tendering process.

He said there were various other studies and some are expected to be tabled in the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK12).

He noted water shortage was a long standing issue for Sabahans.

“There are even villages that do not have water pipes installed up to this day, we have gained independence for 58 years but we still face this problem,” Bung said.

He said when water treatment plants were first constructed, the river and water sources were clean but over the years, they started to get polluted, thus indirectly contributing to clean water supply issues.

He also assured representatives and people in other districts such as Pulau Banggi, who are also faced with constant water shortage problems, that he would get their woes looked into, one step at a time.

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