KUCHING: The Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) need to develop lasting solutions for the flooding problems around the Bawang Assan area, said Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.
He said they should take immediate steps to study and monitor the nearby Rajang and Igan Rivers affecting the relevant areas as well as consider the need to dredge and deepen the river depth.
“The relevant departments must provide periodic reports on the situation to the state government in order to solve this perennial nightmare for the residents there who have endured it for decades,” he said today.
He said that after receiving many complaints from local residents, it was clear that many low-lying areas in Bawang Assan had long suffered from flooding.
“Even under clear skies, one can see ponding (stagnant water) in certain road sections,” he said, adding that the foundations of many homes and buildings were under threat from being eroded and having their safety compromised.
The Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president expressed extreme disappointment in seeing such a situation following an on-site inspection. He said that it was even more difficult to imagine what residents must endure during a storm in the rainy season.
“Worse still, these places that are long affected by flooding are not few. They include Jalan Engkillo, Jalan Lau Kah Tu, Jalan Chew Kung, and Jalan Dassan, among others,” he said.
He said that SJK Do Nang at Jalan Engkillo were particularly affected, with students now even having to use a ramshackle wooden bridge to get to school. He stressed that unless the flooding problem was solved, the students’ safety would be threatened every time a rainstorm occurred.
Meanwhile, Tiong said that vegetable farmers, especially in the areas near Jalan Sg Bidut, Jalan Hock Ming, Jalan Yew Chai Toh, Jalan Chung Hung Toh and Jalan Kuong Tiong needed to be compensated for their ruined crops during the floods.
“The Sarawak government has strongly advocated agricultural development but without complementary infrastructure development, the farmers will lose confidence in being able to work their land.
“This serious matter must be resolved as soon as possible. I am sure by deepening the riverbeds, some relief can be felt,” he said.
He pointed out that the problem could be solved only by accurately diagnosing problematic sections of the river. He said that otherwise, the hazardous parts of the river would continue to endanger all those who used it and boats might even run aground or worse when travelling at night.
In addition, he said that the issue of congestion on the river must be addressed quickly, explaining that the river currently could no longer support the area’s growing population.
He said he had consulted the youth in the Bawang Assan area for their input. “PDP’s Bawang Assan Youth Chief Joshua Ting Fu Ying had reported to the relevant departments through the Sibu Rural District Council to begin monitoring and flood mitigation as early as possible in order to improve the flood drainage system.”
Tiong emphasised that the relevant departments must jointly coordinate and discuss the flood situation in the affected areas in order to formulate a lasting solution, otherwise there would not be any improvement to the people’s lives.
“In a time when the entire country is actively striving for advancements and progress, it is disappointing and maddening to know that the people of Sibu still need to traverse the hazards of mountains and rivers for work or school,” he said.