Friday, February 6, 2015

‘Institutional change needed to end floods’

Posted on February 6, 2015, Friday

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem has been asked to initiate and put in place institutional change to end flash floods that threaten and endanger the lives and properties of Sarawakians every year.

Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How said millions of ringgit in public funds are required for flood relief, rebuilding homes, repairing roads and restoring other infrastructural and public amenities due to flooding.

“The Chief Minister will be doing all Sarawakians a great service and make it his legacy if he can effect institutionalised measures to arrest the threats and problems of flash floods, thereby safeguarding lives and properties, improving governance and saving public funds,” the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) state vice-chairman told a press conference yesterday.

“Enough of blaming nature for unprecedented rainfall causing devastating flooding every year. Stop promising that the government will get serious to address the issues to prevent future disasters. Put into action a committee to examine the sources and factors causing or contributing to flooding and draw up a standard operating procedure to tackle major floods.”

According to See, Adenan should specifically look into the functions of the State Planning Authority, the Land and Survey Department, city and local councils as well as Natural Resources and Environment Board, which are responsible for the approval of development projects.

“I must point out that these departments are under the Chief Minister’s ministerial portfolio and purview. The present poorly managed land clearing and development projects that mess up the drainage and waterways are the main cause of persistent flash floods in most cities and townships in the state,” he claimed.

See said a drainage master plan for all cities and townships is long overdue.

He added that he would refer a specific case of land clearing, over a parcel of state land of 10acres at Mile 6 1/2, Jalan Penrissen, to the Chief Minister’s office.

“The land is at a slope of a hill and actually the other side, there is a very old cemetery. So when they bulldozed the place, they pushed the earth down to the valley. There is actually a mud drain below there and after they pushed everything down to the valley, there is no more drain now.

“So when there is heavy rain, definitely areas like Semaba and all the housing estates in the low-lying areas in Penrissen will face problems,” he said.

He also called on the state government to stop giving license over state land supposedly reserved for ‘green lungs’, which could act as buffer zones for flash floods.

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