Limited funds in view of available allocation for project under Ninth Malaysia Plan
Limited funds are cutting into Sibu flood mitigation projection, the Dewan Rakyat was told on Wednesday.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) the federal government would be able to meet just five per cent of the RM460 million estimated cost needed to contain Sibu’s perennial watery problem.
According to Uggah, the five per cent would amount to RM24 million which would go into the implementation of the first phase of the plan.
In fact, he said, RM24 million was well short of the money needed to implement the first of the project which had been estimated to cost RM100 million.
“However, in view of the limited allocation for this project under the 9MP, the first phase of this project will be implemented with the available allocation amounting to RM24 million,” said Uggah in his winding-up speech on the mid-term review of the 9MP.
Uggah pointed out earlier that studies had been carried out to overcome the floods in Sibu and its surrounding areas and that several long term solutions had been identified. He told the august house that among the studies were the “Urban Drainage Masterplan Study for Sibu Town” carried out by the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) in 1998.
Some of the solutions identified under the DID study are the construction of a flood barrier along Sungai Seduan and Sungai Teku, construction of a flood diversion canal, the construction of a pump station and a tide-control gate, upgrading of the present roads to act as flood barriers along Batang Igan and Batang Rajang, upgrading the current drainage and the construction of flood retention ponds.
Uggah said: “The estimated total cost for the implementation of flood mitigation projects for Sibu and its surrounding areas is RM460 million. As of now, the detailed project designs have been completed.”
On Tuesday, Sibu Democratic Action Party (DAP) publicity secretary, Richard Chiong had demanded that the government implement its flood mitigation plan for the town quickly.
He told a press conference that three weeks had lapsed since the last rounds of euphoria when the people here were clamouring for a concrete solution to their flood woes.
“However, lately, it seems that once again people are not paying attention to the flood woes. While the people become apathetic, the government seems to keep a low profile, perhaps hoping that after a while everything would just die away,” he said.
Chiong claimed that nothing was mentioned about flood mitigation through the mid-term review of the 9MP and that the people here wanted to know how much the government had allocated for flood mitigation, when the project would be implemented and how it would be carried out.