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Department of Irrigation and Drainage Sarawak

Expedite funding for Sibu flood mitigation project, Putrajaya told
Posted on : 08 Sep 2020  Source of News: The Borneopost online

SIBU: The federal government is urged to immediately fund Phase 5 of the flood mitigation project here to alleviate the constant floodings faced by the people here.

Senator Robert Lau, who made the call when debating the motion of thanks for the royal address by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong at the Dewan Negara yesterday, said the estimated cost for Phase 5 is about RM280 million for the construction of three pump stations and 3.5km of bunds.

According to him, the flood mitigation project for Sibu commenced in 2008 but had yet to be completed, with seven pump stations built thus far and two more currently being built.

“Another five (pump stations) have yet to be built with two more stretches of bunds to be built.

“Fortunately, the Sarawak government has stepped in by putting in RM120 million to build Phase 4 which will include two pump stations and 1.5km of bunds even though the jurisdiction of the flood mitigation project comes under the federal government,” he said.

He added: “Sarawak contributes so much tax and 95 per cent of her oil and gas (revenue) to the federal coffers. What money we have left, we still have to carry out work that benefits the people even though it is the responsibility of the federal government.”

Lau noted that Sibu and its surrounding towns have seen their golden years go by and are now in a state of stagnation or even decline.

The young people are not returning to Sibu and the low-lying areas and the river bank are still subject to regular flooding, he added.

According to him, several urban renewal plans had been proposed over the past 20 years but had remained just that.

“I was the deputy chairman of Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) immediately prior to my appointment as a senator. The area covered by SRDC is 5,870 sq km. As comparison, Melaka is 1,664 sq km, Negri Sembilan is 6,686 sq km, and Perlis is 821 sq km.

“SRDC received RM1 million and RM1.2 million in 2020 and 2019 respectively for BP1 projects. Every year, the council gets about RM10 million under Malaysia Road Registration Information System (Marris), which is woefully inadequate,” he pointed out.

BP1 projects are categorised as small-scale people-centric projects in the respective local councils, including the building and upgrading of roads, drains, public toilets and others.