The issue of flood mitigation plan for Sibu is not really going anywhere. Every one is talking about to dredge or not to dredge the Rajang River and to built bunds to protect Sibu from flooding.
The depth of Rajang River has become shallower due to heavy siltation. Dredging is only a temporary solution. No one is looking at the root problem of why there is heavy siltation.
Siltation occurred because upper Rajang has been deforested due to logging and opening up of lands for oil palm plantations. No one is pointing fingers to those timber and oil palm companies yet. Those companies are responsible for the siltation, they reap profits and yet the rakyat suffer and the government need to spend big some of money to solve the problem.
Robert Lau and Sarawak Barisan Nasional are cohorts with the timber tycoons and oil palm plantation companies. Maybe he have stakes in those companies.
Take a look at some major points:
* The government required RM400 million fund to mitigate the flood problem. But all the while Robert Lau is more keen to spend money to make Wisma Sanyan area beautiful.
* Sibu forefathers unfortunately started to develop Sibu at low-lying areas. The government should have reallocated Sibu to high ground long time ago.
* Timber companies reaped millions of Ringgit in profit for deforesting the virgin jungle of Sarawak. And they are not taking the blame. Maybe DAP politicians also have stakes in those companies.
* Robert Lau is bringing experts from China to draft the flood mitigation plan. That make our officers from Drainage and Irrigation Department irrelevant and project that they are not capable of creating flood prevention scheme. High possibility that those officers are under-qualify. If DID think they are qualified, they should be the one drafting the flood mitigation plan.
* The plan will only be ready in 2010. And implementation for another 2 years. So it look like the Sibu folks have to suffer for another 4 years. Robert Lau should have looking into this issues 5 years ago, not now.
* Rajang River siltation problem started decades ago and is being neglected by the Sarawak Barisan Nasional who are more willing to develop Mukah. There is no balance in Sarawak Barisan Nasional project implementation.
* Siltation in Rajang River due to heavy deforestation
* Sarawak logging industry - one of the culprit
* Who's protecting Sarawak virgin jungles
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Source:theborneopost.com/?p=34594 (Apr 26, 2008)
Lau: All views to be taken into consideration
By Philip Wong
SIBU: Suggestions and feedback from members of the public on the flood mitigation plan for Sibu will be taken into consideration.
Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister Datuk Robert Lau yesterday regarded such expressions of opinions as of paramount importance that might eventually help solve the flood problems here.
Lau said they were looking at all possibilities, including the calls to dredge the Rajang River which many believed was the cause of the frequent flood.
“However, it takes time to solve the tedious problem and we call on the people to exercise restraint. At this moment, the Barisan Nasional team is trying very hard to get the RM400 million fund to mitigate the flood problem.
“Once the money come, we will spring into action,” he added.
Lau was speaking to reporters after handing over financial aid to five deserving students under the Bakti (Association for Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in the Cabinet) programme.
The five students who excelled in their studies are Chiong Yew Kie, Hilda Kolony, Hirminaiza Firdaus, Philip Hii Ong Teck and Magtum Aen.
Lau felt that it would be a waste of resources if they went ahead to dredge the river without taking all factors into consideration.
“We must not rush into doing things without a proper study. Obviously, we cannot fight with nature and unless the flood mitigation plans are properly executed, otherwise the problems will continue to persist,” the deputy minister said.
Asked how long the people would have to wait for an answer, Lau hinted that by 2010, there should be at least an outcome over the flood mitigation plan.
“However, we will let the people know in advance the details once the Chinese engineers came up with the design. This way, it will pacify the people, let them study the plan and accentuate its outcome before we go ahead to implement it,” he said.
In this respect, Lau appealed to the people not to be hoodwinked by the opposition leader who wanted to politicise the issue.
DAP state publicity chief David Wong had recently called on the people to support the ‘Dredge Rajang River, Save Sibu’ campaign, attributing the frequent flood to the shallow Rajang River bed due to many years of siltation.
Lau admitted that he was not an engineer and it was not for him to assess the actual cause of the floods which was believed to have hit Sibu town many times since December 2007.
“Let the Chinese engineers come up with a solution and at the same time, let us put all our heads together and work for the benefits of all the people,” he added.
On the frequent floods that affect-ed the livelihood of Sibu people, Lau could only blame it on the forefathers who unfortunately started to develop Sibu at low-lying areas.
“At that time, what mattered most to them were the trees and rivers. So long as there were trees and rivers, they just settled down at the place for occupation.
“If we were to look at the Sarawak Government Gazette, Sibu was already hit by constant flood in the 19th century. It’s nothing new. And whether the flood is getting more frequent these days, well, perhaps, that I have to look at the statistics,” he said.
Source : theborneopost.com/?p=34533 (Apr 25, 2008)
Sibu floods: To dredge or not to dredge?
By Peter Boon
Consider other mitigation measures as well, public suggests
SIBU: The issue of dredging the Rajang River as a flood mitigation measure has become the major talk of the town of late.
Locals were asked at random yesterday about what they think of it. The reactions were mixed.
First to give the thumbs-up to the idea was Danny Lee, 35, a hair stylist by profession.
“I still recall in the past, the flood was not that serious. However, of late, it seems to become more frequent, making it very inconvenient to go to town to shop or do business. It is high time the dredging of Rajang River be carried out to mitigate the problem,” said Lee.
Nelson Ng, 45, a prominent businessman and proprietor of one of the largest fashion houses here, was also in favour of dredging the river.
“I have spoken to some of my friends who have been engaged in the sand and gravel business for some 20 years and they all strongly suggested dredging to mitigate the flood,” he said.
“I believe dredging the river will help to lessen the flood. I also think efforts should be made to improve our drainage system to complement the dredging for more effective result,” said Ng
Ho Kee Kit, 30, a school teacher welcomed any effort to dredge the river.
“Removing the silt that have settled over the years will improve the flow of water and reduce the frequency of floods, and if the flood still comes, it won’t be so bad,” said Ho.
An undergraduate at a local public university, Augustine Muling, 24, suggested that improving the drainage system should be given priority.
“At times, after a downpour, several places here get flooded due to the clogged drains. It is not always because of the floods in the upper reaches of the Rajang River,” he reasoned.
“A flood makes it really inconvenient to go anywhere especially during office hours. Therefore, improving the drainage system should be given the utmost urgency.”
Chan Ping, 33, a business woman suggested that both dredging and improving the drainage system should be carried out – preferably at the same time.
“While I am all for dredging the river, our drainage system needs to be improved too to effectively mitigate the flood. Doing one without the other won’t be effective. If you dredge the river but the drains are still clogged, rain water would flow too slowly to the river and the town would still get flooded,” said Chan.
Proprietor of a boutique shop, Andy Ng, 40, felt that dredging the river would only yield temporary results.
“According to a friend of mine from overseas who frequented this town, a proper drainage system would be a more effective solution,” he said.
“If you go around town, you would quickly notice some clogged drains. What is crucial now is to improve the drainage system so that water will be able to flow freely,” said Ng.
Concurring with Ng’s opinion, a person who wished to remain anonymous believed that improving the drainage system was of immediate concern.
The flood is caused by the deforestation and also excess water from the interior of the vast Kapit Division, he explained.
“Hence, I believe that improving our drainage system is a more viable option to mitigate the flood here. The local authority should also ensure that housing developers focus on building proper drains for all new housing projects,” he said.
A pastor from a local church, Michael Siew, who is from Perak, believed that a more practical option would be to plant trees along the river banks.
“In the past, we experienced the same problem in Perak due to extensive tin mining operations. But when the activity ceased, the floods also stopped,” he recalled.