Datuk Sri Tiong King Sing

KUCHING: Piecemeal solutions carried out to resolve the flood woes which stemmed from the clogged-up Rajang and Igan Rivers will not work in the long term, Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said.

He said meticulous research and survey must be carried out first to tackle the flood situation in Sibu effectively.

“Locals living near the Rajang and Igan rivers expressed their dissatisfaction with the insistence of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) to only build pumping stations and refuse to carry out the survey regarding the situation of siltation there.

“They harbour well-founded doubts on where the vast amounts of water pumped will be directed to, as the Rajang and Igan rivers have been clogged by runaway upstream activities for many years,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tiong said Sibu DID must also calculate the expenditure needed to implement the survey works as soon as possible adding that with planning, the required funding would not be excessive, with only the related survey software and vessels required.

“But before any relevant riverbed survey can be completed, relying solely on insufficient data and information to make arbitrary decisions on flood mitigation planning will not lead to effective long-term solutions.

“Rajang and Igan rivers have not been improved nor upgraded for more than 60 years, and many areas with high siltation are experiencing low tide, with some spots even doubling as football fields for the locals there.

“Therefore, we need to know where are the affected areas in order to tackle the flood situation effectively,” he said.

The Bintulu MP said the fact that Rajang was the main network discharging a large volume of water during the release of the Bakun Dam and the upcoming Baleh Dam should be taken into account.

“Therefore, it is vital that we ensure the river can accommodate the expected deluge of water or risk the entire Sibu flooded like Atlantis.

“It will not do to carry out piecemeal projects in isolated spots. Doing so will not bring an overall lasting solution. It is better to allow for survey work to be completed, which will lead to an effective plan to be formed,” he said.