Monitor Possible Price Hikes After Major Floods, Leiking Tells State Govt

KOTA KINABALU : The Deputy President of Parti Warisan, Darell Leiking today expressed his concern on the possibility of prices of goods originating from Peninsular skyrocketing due to the major flood that crippled the country’s industrial powerhouse of Selangor that will affect the low and middle income earners in Sabah.

He believe that the increment will hover between 10% to 15% and goods most likely to be affected includes processed foods, vehicle spare parts and electrical appliances.

“Whenever major flooding occurs in any part of the World, it would always affect the supply chain notably the manufacturing and logistic sectors – sudden increase of demand for vehicles’ replacement parts in Peninsular at a time when manufacturers themselves are unable to operate efficiently will definitely cause the price of these products to soar.

The biggest loser of all would definitely be Sabah since we don’t produce our own vehicles’ spare parts and highly dependent for the same from Peninsular – when demand is already high, additional shipping and land logistic costs in Sabah will exacerbate matters and we have seen how this impacted our local farmers in relation to the price of imported herbicides,” he said in a statement today.

The former Minister of International Trade and Industry also said that the GRS-led State Government is obliged to ensure that price of goods remain under control and must constantly engage with the businesses communities in Sabah especially those who are dependent on supplies from Peninsular such as distributors, micro-businesses operators and SMIs to understand their predicaments or dilemmas on this matter.

“If the price hike do happen, the Chief Minister and his Cabinet should not blame traders or suppliers because it is the role of the Government who are empowered in the first place to prevent profiteering thru strategic engagement, monitoring and enforcement with all the stakeholders because at the end of the day, it is the ordinary Sabahans who are the end consumers that we’re supposed to protect.

Any statement of assurance from the Chief Minister or Minister in charge will be deemed superficial especially by the businesses communities if there is no presence of preventive measures mentioned above is seen on the ground,” he explained it.

He also said that Warisan is mulling to form a special committee within the party to make its own studies and recommendations with regards to the flooding issue in the State and while conclusion will be adopted in the party’s manifesto, it will also be shared with the State Government from time to time.

“Flooding (or landslide) issue in Sabah extend beyond politics since it can affect the lives and personal belongings of our families, relatives and friends who may have no interests in politics at all hence we all need to do our designated tasks to ensure that this issue is being mitigated, if not totally solved.

As a responsible opposition, Warisan will set up a special committee to be participated by the party’s divisional members all over the State to monitor flooding issue in Sabah and also on the State Government’s performances especially with regards to hill cutting and clearing, reclamation work, management of the drainage systems at flood prone areas, all of which have been identified as flash floods causative.

As a matter of fact, since flooding had becoming rampant in the State for the past half decade, several Warisan officials have actually came out with the idea of reassigning several State Departments and Agencies to State Ministries that actually suit them to increase effectiveness, accountability and transparency – such reassignment, among others, would have seen 3 State Departments namely the Department of Drainage and Irrigation (DID), the Environment Protection Department (EPD) and a new fully fledged Geology Department being assigned under a single Ministry (which have yet to be decided back then).

The rational of assigning the first two Departments under a single Ministry was primarily driven by Warisan Government’s push on the State’s investment and industrialization in a planned way while the creation of fully fledged Geology Department is necessary because based on the advice given to us by a retired Sabah Department Director, we need experts who actually dedicate their time in studying water and soil movements to advise the Government about flood prevention and not to be overly dependent with engineers in JKR – this is so since geology and engineering are two different majors.

It is rather unfortunate that we were unable to proceed with the reassignment due to the change of State Government last year but obviously this will become part of Warisan’s manifesto later on,” he said.

Leiking also said that the State Government must make flooding a priority to be solved and exhaust all preventive measures to prevent any catastrophe befelling Sabahans the same way that had happened at Kg. Sugud on September 16.

“The problem with flooding is that most people including the State Government and local authorities tend to forget about it when dry season comes but what most people do not realize is that those who are living at the flood prone areas are in constant threat every single day of major flooding that could happen anytime, no thanks to decades of unmonitored hill clearing and cutting, land reclamation works and climate change.

Hence, development funds or allocations received by the State Government should be channeled firstly for the purpose of flood prevention measures because flooding can really disrupt the economy especially investors and for this, I am sure there are many suggestions or proposals on additional measures that Sabahans can give to the State Government or local authorities if both do not have any.

With global climate change and increased rainfall that we’re experiencing this year, I think 2022 will be no different with monsoon flooding and flash floods continue to pummel us unless the State Government makes flooding a priority for the State to be solved,” he concluded.