Sunday, September 24

CM: We will probe cause of logjam


Incident at Rajang River has never happened before so don’t jump to conclusions

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The government would investigate the cause of the massive debris clogging the Rajang River since last Thursday, assured Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud

He advised the people not to speculate and accuse anyone at this point as the real cause has yet to be determined.

“I have asked the people to investigate the cause as this is the first time we have such a thing. So we should not just jump to conclusions,” Taib told the media after officiating Unimas’ 14th Convocation at Unimas campus here yesterday.

When pressed on what he thought would be the cause of the massive clogging, Taib said he did not know as he was not a scientist.

“I can speculate on the reasons. Firstly, the rain was so heavy and came in such a short time. If the rainwater were to spread out over four weeks, there will not be enough water to propel the flow of the accumulated debris.

“Secondly, all these areas are undulating and the river water will converge in the valleys, bringing with it debris, leaves, logs and branches.”

“The sudden huge amount of rainwater pushed up the river water level and forced the debris to be rushed downstream in one go,” said Taib.

Taib, who is also Minister of Planning and Resource Management, pointed out that the government would monitor and get to the root cause of the incident, saying that various government agencies such as Sarawak Rivers Board and Natural Resources and Environment Board were monitoring the situation on the Rajang River around the clock.

However, Balleh assemblyman and Minister of Land Development Dato Sri Dr James Masing has called for the culprits causing the wood debris phenomenon in the Rajang River to be punished severely as this was the third time such incident happened in Kapit area.

The first time was in 2008 at Sungei Ga’at and the second one happened at Sungei Tutuh last year.

Masing also disclosed that tons of fish had surfaced along the long stretch from Balleh to Sibu, which riverine folks scooped out easily.

In Sibu, the most populated town along the Rajang River, prominent leaders from both political divides have been busy trying to figure out the causes of the catastrophic disaster.

Meanwhile, when asked about Mubadala Development Company, the investment arm of Abu Dhabi government to invest RM21.7 billion in an aluminium related project in the state, Taib said he welcomed such a move.

“We welcome them and other good investors to Sarawak. They have called me and they wanted to see me,” said Taib.