Flood Leaves Penampang Folk In Distress

PENAMPANG: Right after the heavy flood on the 15 September, Penampang was again hit by another wave of flash flood on the 12 October which have caused great distress among the affected residents and business owners in Penampang and affected Districts in Sabah.

Heavy thunderous rain and strong wind early Morning of Tuesday had caused damaging floods all over Penampang District, mainly at Kg. Kibabaig, Kg. Kolopis, Kg. Penampang Proper, Kg. Nambazan, Kg. Sugud, Kg.Maang, Donggongon Town, Kg. Hungab, Kg. Nosoob, Bundusan Areas and many more affected areas.

Penampang Parliament and Moyog People’s Representative office conducted several inspections at few affected places in Penampang to find out if the drainages and rivers have been cleared by the Relevant Ministry since the last major flood on the 15 September 2021.

”We had Repetitively personally liaised and dealt with the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), Penampang District Works Department, Penampang District Office and Penampang Council Office for the immediate Clean up of rivers and drainages right after the recent flood where heavy debris as well as mud sediments will, if not cleaned up, will surely clog up the water flow outlets and will definitely cause heavy flood when another heavy downpour happens again and we have been proven right on this as the facts will show today!” stressed Pritchard Gumbaris, the Political Secretary to Penampang Member of Parliament, Darell Leiking.

On the inspection yesterday, it was clear that the rivers were still clogged with heavy debris from previous flood and this can be seen along the river in Kg. Sugud, Kg. Maang and kg. Kibabaig.

”According to DID, they can only proceed with river clearing after they their request for financial assistance are approved by the State Agriculture Ministry. It is already almost a month now since the last flood (15.9.2021) it would be evident that there are still no Bare evidence of DID or their Concessionaires (Contractors) doing and conducting any cleaning and clearing of rivers and drainages. Just walk or drive out to your nearest Major Drainage and ask why is it not flowing as what a Drainage was designed for? Look at how the water are still and rising and not deminishing to an actual outlet?

The Prime Minister had already announced RM 18.6 millions to tackle the recent flood disaster, why do we still need to wait for financial approval?” said Pritchard.

“It was reported by DID in the past that the widening of drainage by 7 feet from behind Penampang Fire Department station to Padimas drainage under Moyog Flood Mitigation, Package 1 and the last meeting we had with DID which involved a site inspection in Tunoh area will help to mitigate the flood in Donggongon Town, Kg. Hungab and Kg. Tunoh area but until today the Government Authorities have yet to much Announced and Anticipated Flood Mitigation project to complete!.” said Pritchard.

In 2019 and 2020, the Penampang Parliament office set up an Adhoc Flood Prevention Committee consisting of all the then village MPKK, Ketua Kampung, local authorities, Penampang Council Office, District Office and Penampang Parliament Office. The committee was set up to coordinate village drainage cleaning including all the drainage under the government agencies. This is to make sure that the drainage are consistently cleared from debris that might clog up the drainage outlet. The committee were to compliment the much announced “Moyog Flood Mitigation project” which had been scheduled and expected to be completed in 2023.

The flood issue have not only severely affected the lives of people, their workplaces as well business activities but it has also caused negative impact to the overall economy and the ease of doing of business as well, especially Jalan Bundusan, the primary commercial area comprised of light industries, commercial buildings, warehouses, and residential buildings that contributes a lot to the economy of Sabah. However, the ecosystem have been affected by the unsolved flood issues in Penampang and many businesses have to face huge numbers of unexpected losses due to these problems.” Said Pritchard

As at today, more than RM3 million losses have been reported by businesses along Jalan Bundusan according to complaints that we have received. The losses are mainly due to lost inventories, structural damages in the warehouse, repairs and the clean-up costs amongst others.

We are in the middle of rebuilding the economy in Sabah while still facing the Pandemic and yet local businesses are facing negative impact due to severe weather / climate change events and the obvious poor management of basic infrastructure facilities. The Relevant Ministry as well as its department and authorities must have empathy to the People of Sabah more so those affected District and be responsible, besides solving existing problems, they should have proper plannings and no more media announced solutions to prevent the problem but to actually do all things and works to ensure the Flood like what had happened will be greatly mitigated and not happen again.

The current government should now no longer dilly dally but be more proactive and quick in tackling and solving what can be done to reduce the impact of the recurring flood and at least find ways to mitigate the flood issue. The Penampang Parliament and Adun Moyog office have written to the respective ministry and even raised the issue in Parliament and DUN sitting and the Government Must Answer the People of Sabah with no more reason for any sort of delay.

We are tired of the Government’s repetitive Announcement after Announcement on Flood Mitigation and Prevention and yet we just cannot see any real outcome of the Mitigation Work more so now that Climate Change is fast changing the weather Pattern and causing unquantifiable damages and losses to affected and indirectly affected Citizens!

The Government should at least do Immediate clean up of all drainages and rivers and demand their contractors to expedite the Flood Mitigation Projects in Penampang once and for all!