Speech text of N.11 Batu Lintang State Assemblyman See Chee How, on 13 June 2016, debating on the Motion of Appreciation on the address of His Excellency, Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Di-Pertua Negeri
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to participate in the debate of the Motion of Appreciation on the address of His Excellency, Tuan Yang Terutama Yang Di-Pertua Negeri the Governor, delivered on the 8th of June 2016.
I must thank the constituents in Batu Lintang for re-electing me into this Honourable Dewan for this second term, and I must register my sincere gratitude to Datuk Amar Speaker and Honourable members of the Selection Committee for appointing me to be a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of this august House.
I am honoured for the electoral tenure and PAC appointment and I certainly vow to serve, to the best of my capacity and ability, to uphold the integrity of these offices.
These famous Latin aphorism or expression always come to my mind every time I think of this noble and dignified Dewan and its offices.
In the famous movie Dead Poets Society, John Keating, the English teacher played by Robin Williams, exclaimed to his students: "Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."
Rightly, this line was voted as one of the greatest movie quotes, and I must share it with all my fellow colleagues in this august House, while reiterating the good advice of His Excellency our State Governor who reminded us in His Excellency’s address that it is our duty and responsibility to work for the wellbeing of Sarawak and all Sarawakians.
The meaning of "carpe diem" as used by the Roman poet Horace is not to ignore the future, not to trust that everything will fall into place for us, but we must take action for the future today. We must do all we can today to make our future better.
Therefore, we should not wait for another flash flood in the city to tell us that we have not put in place the measures to resolve and mitigate this problem that threatens the lives and properties of our urban dwellers, paralyzing and incapacitating our important public institutions such as the Sarawak general Hospital, our schools and even the state police headquarters and the fire and rescue department.
We had lost 2 precious lives in a flash floods in Kuching 4 years ago. But barely a month ago, there was another news report that a trainee nurse fell into the monsoon drain of strong flowing water was lucky that her colleague managed to grab her arm in the nick of time.
I must commend the Commission of Kuching City North for taking their own initiatives immediately, to plan, design and tender out projects to tackle flash floods in and around the Padang Merdeka, one of the areas identified as critical.
However, as the Honourable Kuching North City Mayor had said, it requires the joint efforts of all departments and authorities concerned to ensure that the methods and solutions to tackle flash floods are effective.
Datuk Amar Speaker had earlier revealed the information from the Acting Director of Drainage and Irrigation Department dated 3th June 2016, that the state government has set up “The State Urban Development Committee” chaired by Yang Berhormat State Secretary and one of the technical working groups in this Committee is on Urban Drainage and Flood Mitigation and this technical working group had discussed and identified the short term, medium and long term measures to mitigate the flash floods issues.
I do earnestly believe that this administration is serious with arresting the problem of flash floods in Kuching city.
As a long term measure, the state government has approved the implementation of the Sarawak Urban Storm Water Management Manual (SUStoM) for new development areas.
I hope that a copy of this Manual SUStoM will be made available to all Honourable members of this august Dewan and I do pray that the State Planning Authority and the local authorities will exercise the political will to implement the terms and measures in the Manual. Let it not be the case whereby existing good laws and regulations are not enforced. A case in point is section 23 of the Building Ordinance 1994 whereby local authorities may give landowners and developers to cause proper drains to be constructed or laid for premises which are not properly drained.
For the medium term measures, the Honourable Minister of Local Government has revealed that it involves the upgrading of major drain outlets for the areas, including the Sarawak General Hospital requiring a cost of RM15 million, Jalan Batu Lintang RM20 million, Jalan laksamana Cheng Ho RM25 million, Federal Quarters RM15 million, Sungai Tabuan dredging works RM2 million and Taman Malihah RM22 million.
I hope the Honourable Minister will enlighten us in his winding-up speech whether the implementation of these medium term measures are included in the projects that are approved under the first rolling plan of the 11th Malaysia Plan amounting to RM357 million and when can we expect these projects to be tendered out and be completed. There must be a time frame to the implementation of the projects.
Flood and flash floods mitigation projects in Sarawak is an area that has been long neglected by the Federation. One of the first studies for flood and flash flood mitigation, completed with the help of experts from the Netherlands, was completed in 1985 but the project proposals were shelved.
If the flood mitigation measures and projects were carried out 30 years back, they would have costed only a fraction of what they will be costing us today and we would not have suffered the losses and damages of flash floods today, not forgetting that the holistic studies had also covered advices on planning of urban development.
Therefore, Datuk Speaker,
The state administration must show our commitment to arrest the problems today, to implement the projects to ensure that the future wellbeing of the state and the people are secured.
We can agree that devolution of power will take time, but the leaders of the Federation must be made to see the urgency of the matters involved.
Datuk Speaker, we are giving time for those in Putra Jaya at our own peril. Our Honourable Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing had earlier revealed that we have more than 400 schools classified as high risk. That is another of the many areas that speaks of the neglects by the Federation which need to be urgently looked into.
"Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Make our lives extraordinary."
That is my wish, my hope, that from the Right Honourable Chief Minister down to each of us members of this august House, that we act today, do what is right and necessary today, for the wellbeing and the future of Sarawak and all Sarawakians.