Premier: Study to improve Sarawak’s drainage in low-lying areas could be based on Dutch system

Posted on 02 Mar 2023
Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari presents a goodie bag to a flood victim. On his right is Dr Sim. – Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

KUCHING (March 2): A comprehensive study will be conducted on improving the drainage system in low-lying areas across Sarawak to address flooding, said Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Premier said the study could be based on the successful system implemented in the Netherlands, a country situated below sea level, but has managed to keep the water at bay.

“What we need is a study on all our drainage systems in a holistic manner. Like Holland, it is (a country) below the sea but has a good system to address flooding problems.

“The system in Holland is a role model. I’d say that if they can do it, we can also have a similar one in Sarawak. At least, we have some programme (to address floods) and then even with heavy rain, there won’t be any floods.

“We must have a comprehensive study to see how to improve flood prone areas in not just Kuching but also Sibu, Miri, and Sri Aman. Other areas are not so much affected due to higher ground,” he said following a visit to an evacuation centre here at SJK Chung Hua Batu Kawa, which is sheltering 80 flood victims from Kampung Rantau Panjang.

Abang Johari suggested the study could begin from Kampung Rantau Panjang to look into means to improve the drainage system there.

He said the study could later expand to cover nearby areas in Batu Kawa such as Desa Wira, as well as other parts of Sarawak which are low-lying and flood-prone.

He said quite significant funds would be required if the study is completed and implemented at a later stage.

Abang Johari gestures during a conversation with Dr Sim (left) in a disaster relief tent with flood victims at the evacuation centre. – Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi

“We will need federal funding. But I asked that (Deputy Premier) Dato Sri Dr Sim (Kui Hian) and his friends to have a comprehensive study first and then we implement it in stages, and according to the funds made available.

“We must first put in place a good system which will put flooding issues at bay. But this cannot be done overnight. We need to have a good system first and then implement it phase by phase.

“For instance, we can start from Rantau Panjang and then Desa Wira and Samariang, do it in stages. It will require billions of ringgit and we have to look for funds,” he said.

To a question, Abang Johari said he is satisfied with the efforts of the Civil Defence Department (APM) and other relevant agencies at the evacuation centre.

He asserted that what matters most is food is sufficiently provided for flood victims and the temporary shelter is safe.

“I extend my appreciation to APM and other agencies for setting up this centre for flood victims from Kampung Rantau Panjang. I was told that there are 19 families comprising 80 souls for now.

“It is still cloudy today and the authority concerned has issued a warning that unpromising weather could last till March 15. Let’s be on the lookout, especially those staying in low-lying areas, must contact APM for evacuation, if need be,” added the Premier.