Report on Baleh-Rajang debris still pending, says Awang Tengah


KUCHING: The govern-ment is waiting for a comprehensive report on the recent debris phenomenon along the Baleh and Rajang rivers, said Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.

He said at this point in time, the government could not pinpoint the real cause of the disaster which stretched from Ulu Baleh to Sibu, covering a distance of some 200 kilometres.

“There are so many fac-tors that caused the logjam. Based on our preliminary report it was caused by the landslide and it happened in the area where there is no active logging.

“But we have instructed the relevant agencies to give a very comprehensive report as to what really caused the problem,” Awang Tengah told the media after launching the Water Safety Conference held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.

Awang Tengah was representing Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at the function.

He said the report would take  some time to complete as they (relevant autho-rities)  have to take into consideration all aspects.

“We have to do a lot of studies on what caused the problem, and to get to the area is not easy,” he said.

The debris on Oct 7 created havoc to the water transportation network in the central region.

The Borneo Post was made to understand that the caused of the debris-jam was a massive landslide at Ulu Sungai Meratai, one of the tributaries of Baleh River.

According to Baleh assemblyman and Minister of Land Development Dato Sri Dr James Jemut Masing, many Ibans in Baleh believed that the debris-jam was caused by gods who became angry at loggers for causing so much pollution and damage in Ulu Sungai Meratai.

As such, a massive ‘miring’ ceremony will be held at Muara Sungai Meratai in early December to appease the gods.

The Kapit District Office had estimated the loss to properties caused by the debris-jam to be at least RM1.8 million.

The estimated amount did not include bridges in Meratai logging area which were also destroyed in the incident.

The debris-jam also claimed the lives of two loggers at Meratai logging area when their vehicle got swept away by the massive debris.