Tiong King Sing, the MP of Bintulu is barking at the wrong tree. He can't just put the blame on Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) for not solving the siltation in Rajang River.
Due to worsening siltation at Rajang River, some vessels have problem navigating to Rajang Port due to shallow water. Siltation also resulted in frequent flash flood in Sibu town. Sibu, in fact, is located at the wrong place, that i.e on a lower Rajang delta which is sensitive to rising of water level.
Even if DID dredge the river or make bunds to protect Sibu, Sibu will still be hit by flood because Sibu is sitting on a low lying terrain. Anyway, river dredging is a temporary relief and costly. After dredging, the silt will start to form at the river and the old problem reappear. Building bunds will take time and maybe every costlier. Maybe the government should just reallocate Sibu to higher ground.
In reality, river dredging and building would not solve the problem. Lobbying for dredging in fact could be seen as throwing the money in the river and benefit the dredging companies.
What the MP or the Barisan Nasional leaders should look at is the cause of siltation. Siltation is due to soil erosion from upriver. Soil erosion is due to absence of trees. Thus, siltation is due to heavy deforestation in upper Rajang. Who to be blame on the deforestation ? At least two parties, the government and the timber companies. Timber companies are only concern about profit and never bother about impact of their business on the environment or society.
The government leaders in turn does not have any policies to control logging. This is quite understandable since some leaders receive kick backs from the timber companies in order for them to close eyes on policies revision and enforcement.
So, YB Tiong, I suggest you look at the root cause of the siltation and the unreported deforestation at upper Rajang. If you don't do that, there might be no tree for you to bark at.
* Sarawak logging industry - one of the culprit
* Who's protecting Sarawak virgin jungles
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Source: theborneopost.com/?p=34454 (APr 23, 2008)
MP’s patience wearing thin
By Raymond Tan
Tiong annoyed with DID’s refusal to accept dredging as a flood mitigation measure
BINTULU: Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing is frustrated by the refusal of the director of Sarawak Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) Wong Siu Hieng to accept that river dredging is a way to mitigate flood.
In a press statement received here yesterday evening, Tiong said if siltation was not a serious problem in Sibu, why is there no such problem in downstream towns of Sarikei and Bintangor where the river has not silted?
“Before, a 1,000-ton boat could travel up to Sibu without any problem. The siltation has become so serious that it has badly affected the river transport business. This is a fact we cannot deny.”
Tiong said if this situation continued to deteriorate, the stretch of the river from Jalan Lanang area to Kapit would burst its banks frequently, flooding its surrounding areas.
He said he could not see the logic of Wong refusing to open his ears to the people and accept dredging as a flood mitigation measure.
“Why does he have to look at the mammoth RM400 million bund-building project all the time?”
He said MPs just had a meeting with the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi last week, and in a discussion, the prime minister had agreed to solve the flood problems in the country “by deepening the river”.
“He expects this measure to be looked into quickly, and if this still fails, then he will only see building of bunds as a resort.”
Tiong did not see the need for building bunds in Sibu at the moment.
“The town is not like the situation in Holland, where the land is below sea level.
“During low tide in Sibu, some parts of the river become so shallow that it is not navigational, and in other parts, boats could not even berth.”
He challenged Wong to accept the responsibility if the bunds failed to stop the floods.
“He will retire one day, or he might leave his post, and in the end, when the problem is identified, it will be the Barisan Nasional government which will have to bear the responsibility.”
He suggested that Wong not just sit in the air-conditioned office to receive reports.
“Go on a ground study. If there is a need, I am willing to take him to Sibu for a tour of duty.”
Tiong added that Kemena River here was facing a similar problem.
“Siltation has become so serious that the mouth of the river has become shallow too. During low tide, barges, trawlers and other ships cannot enter. The skippers have to wait for the tide to rise.”
He said the situation was unthinkable if there was an emergency at sea. “How will rescuers and the marine police travel out in their boats?
“What has the DID done about it?”
A Watershed, Catchment or River Basin is the geographic area from which water drains to a particular stream, river or body of water.
The hilltops and ridges define the boundaries of a watershed. The watershed includes the ponds, wetlands and streams that store surface waters and is shaped by the fields, hills, valleys and towns which characterize its landscape.
A watershed is also a community of people, plants and animals which rely on rainfall and the storage capability of that watershed to supply their water needs. A change in the watershed affects all our lives. When we cut forests, clear land, dig wells, and build houses, we cause changes in the watershed. Those changes affect the water cycle on our planet.
Remember; any action in the watershed affects the land, the water and ultimately us. We all share the watershed.