KUCHING: Flooding is a perennial problem in certain parts of Sibu and a flustered Dudong assemblyman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing is calling for a protracted effort to address the issue.
Among others he wants to see a dredging of rivers, a fix to uneven slopes, widening of drains and a sustained maintenance of drainage.
In light of these problems Tiong is suggesting that a masterplan be developed to address flooding issues in Sibu and has called on the Sibu District Office to convene a flash flood committee meeting with the relevant agencies on Jan 25.
The meeting will involve the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC), Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC), Department of Drainage and Irrigation (DID) and Public Works Department (PWD).
“I will raise these plans with the Chief Minister and the Federal Government to obtain the necessary allocation to solve the flood problem,” he said in a Facebook post on Saturday (Jan 15).
Tiong said this after he and members of DID and the Civil Defence Department took a motorboat to investigate the causes of the flood disaster in Sentosa, Sibu on Friday (Jan 14), checking on the river estuaries and monsoon drains.
“Evidently, maintenance and dredging work on these rivers have not been well done. Without the necessary deep dredging work on the rivers, siltation has built up and caused blockages. Flash floods can occur easily in heavy downpours,” he said.
Tiong said they also to took the boat down to Bridge A and Bridge B in Kampung Usaha Jaya as well as the flooded sections of Jalan Bukit Lima Timur.
To their surprise they found that the surfaces of these drains and estuaries had all been cleaned up.
“But there still needs to be deeper riverbeds, fixes to the uneven slopes, inconsistent widths and other substantial maintenance works to these drains.
“These have been plaguing the residents here for 20 years. I strongly recommended that these drains and rivers be upgraded to reinforced concrete as part of the flood prevention solution, which could even reduce the annual costs of maintaining the river,” he said.
Heavy siltation and sedimentation at the estuaries have severely affected the ability of the rivers to discharge into other channels, he said.
“The thick fungi floating on the river surface also makes it difficult for even motorboats to traverse. The monsoon drain is also not well dredged as the excavator for dredging work is a small tonnage model.
“Thus, it is impossible to clear debris and garbage that sink to the river bottom. How sloppy can our government departments be at performing these maintenance work.”
Tiong, who is also Bintulu MP said he had mentioned several times before that a bridge built in the Bukit Lima Timur reserved forest area should be demolished first as many of its poles are impeding the river flow and causing blockage.
“The authorities must also discuss and come up with effective solutions to this problem,” he stressed.