According to the weather report released by the Sabah Meteorological Department, heavy rains are expected to occur on September 15 and at the same time high tides also occur, causing almost the entire West Coast of Sabah to flood.
Member of Parliament Penampang, Datuk Darell Leiking who was contacted by reporters said he had been contacted by many communities related to the floods in their area. Among the issues extended to him was the frequent floods in the roundabout of the Bundusan Pavillion.
The report he received from the Public Works Department and the Irrigation and Drainage Department was that the culvert connecting the road drain to the moonson drain was small. Since the construction of the SESB transformer in Bundusan, floods have become more frequent – due to the very slow water outflow to the monsoon drain. In September last year, Darell visited the area with JKR and asked them to find a solution to the problem. According to JKR, the Globinaco concession report has been sent to JKR headquarters for follow – up action.
Darell also pointed out that floods not only occurs in low laying areas but also occurs in high areas such as Country Heights Apartments. The area is also flooded and the heavy and muddied water flow are from the hill area as shown in the video sent by the residents.
“I believe this heavy water flow from the top of the hill may be related to uncontrolled cutting of hills and trees. The MP urged the local governments such as the Penampang District Office to monitor and ensure that cutting of trees and hills including earth works detrimental to the areas are not done without going through the Penampang District Environment Committee.
“This committee was reactivated on 2019 at the urging of our office after it has been inactive since 2009. One of the main tasks of this committee were to control environmental – related activities such as uncontrolled cutting down trees and hills.
“What has happened to this Committee todate? is it still active or has it been forgotten because tree and hill cutting activities are still not controlled til today. District Officer Francis Chong is urged to be more firm in controlling this situation because it is one of the many causes of widespread floods and landslides in Penampang district in general,” said Darell.
He also received a report from Roger J Joseph, a resident of the Kibabaig – Minintod area where there are activities related to the Pan Borneo construction’s route.
Ever since construction of the Pan Borneo road began, their house and neighbouring houses have consistently been flooded. Although temporary drains and culverts were built, flash muddy floods still occurred because only one culvert was installed and from their report there are no proper concrete drains.
“Every construction involving concrete or asphalt should have a ditch built first and the PWD engineers should study the probability of flooding because the construction of a ditch at this rate, the earth drain will not be able to accommodate the heavy rain and the unfortunate ones are the residents of the affected areas.
“Last year, my officer was in touch with JKR and JKR said they will instruct the main contractor to install two culverts and build proper ditches to reduce the possibility of flooding but from our current updates there have been no action so far.
“I probably have made numorous press statements but the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Agriculture have not taken any firm and immediate action and a detailed report from DID have not been released to us and to the public for display of the current progress reports of the flood mitigation plan as well as the Maintenance of the Drainage system for Public Awareness. They must be transparent in resolving these issues, including providing progress reports.
“This is not the first time that this issue has been raised but it has been debated in Parliament and the Sabah State Legislative Assembly and are recorded in hansard.
“With Climate Change, with many unmonitored earth clearing and hill cutting as well as poor drainage maintenance as well as the delayed Flood Mitigation Project, the government and relevent ministries must be accountable for the immediate action over why there are delays and why the flood keeps happening all over Sabah more so in Kota Kinabalu and Penampang,” he added.
The Government are also urged to assist those affected districts with massive clean up and immediate Solution towards mitigating the next big flood.
Darell is also extending his deepest sympathy to the family of those who perished during a landslide at Forest Hill, Bundusan due to the heavy downpour. Darell is calling the government to act immediately to rectify the flooding issue in West Coast of Sabah particulary in Penampang and should never allow death to happen again because of the flood.