(From right) Chok, Lau, Dr Sim, Ting, Dr Annuar, Sempurai and others visiting Phase 3 of the flood mitigation project in Sibu at Kampung Nangka.

SIBU: Phase 4 of a local flood mitigation project by the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) costing RM120 million has been approved by the state government.

Assistant Minister for Education, Science and Technological Research, Dr Annuar Rapaee told the press the state government had agreed to carry out this project under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

“The consultants will be appointed by the end of this year. It (project) will include one pumping station next to Paramount Hotel while the remaining stretch of Jalan Lanang will be raised up to act as a bund,” he said.

Sarawak State DID director Datuk Chok Mok Soon said this was the tried and tested method to prevent river water from overflowing into low lying areas.

He said low lying areas in Sibu were about 2.5 metres high while the water level of the Rajang River during high tides ranged from 2.2 to 2.8 metres.

“When there is heavy rainfall during a high tide, the low-lying areas will be flooded. The bund will act as a barrier against the high tide water and stops it from flowing into the low-lying areas. At the same time, the pumps will remove the rain water.

“There will be retention ponds behind the pumping stations to store excess rain water before the pumps can clear them,” he added.

Chok pointed out that dredging was not the solution to the problem of flooding in low lying areas. He said this had been tried in Sibu at Pulau Kereto at the cost of more than RM10 million. The dredged areas would silt up again within a few months, he explained.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Dr Annuar and Senator Robert Lau visited the ongoing Phase 3 of the project at Kampung Nangka and was briefed by DID director Datuk Chok Mok Soon.

With them were chairman of Sibu Municipal Council Clarence Ting, and chairman of Sibu Rural District Council Sempurai Petrus Ngelai.

According to Lau, the project that started in 2008 required the building of bunds by raising the road along the river and building pump stations and retention ponds.

“Phases 1 and 2 have been completed. The road from Upper Lanang to the junction of Jalan Lanang and Jalan Ek Dee has been raised and three pumping stations were built.

“Two more pumping stations were built under the federal stimulus package a few years ago. Phase 3 is ongoing and expected to be completed in 2022.

“It involves building two pumping stations and the raising of the road level along the kampung beside Batang Igan. These three phases were funded by the federal government,” he told reporters here on August 10.

The final part was to link these two parts together and this would come under Phase 4, he added.