SIBU: Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) has been urged to expedite the removal of shipwrecks as they pose dangers to navigational safety.
Minister of Environment and Public Health, Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, who made the call, noted that there were shipwrecks in both Rajang and Igan rivers.
Wong, who is also Second Finance Minister, suggested dredging the river beds at Kerto and Sungai Sadit (Kwong Hua area) be given priority attention in order for ships to navigate easily through them.
“I know that Sarawak Rivers Board has plans and had also set aside budget to remove these shipwrecks. They (shipwrecks) have to be removed as they are navigational hazards.
“As such, I would like to urge them (SRB) to expedite the removal of some of the shipwrecks, particularly those that pose dangers to navigational safety,” he said at the 28th Installation of Sarawak and Sabah Shipowners Association (SSSA) cum Chinese New Year celebration here on Saturday.
He pointed out that the siltation at Kerto and Sungai Sadit areas had made navigational activity difficult.
He told those present that he had informed Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato Sri Douglas Uggah that for the RM30 million included in the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) for the dredging of Rajang River, top priority be given to Kerto and Sungai Sadit (Kwong Hua area).
Wong suggested that a joint dialogue session be organised between the Marine Department and ship owners associations both at state and federal levels to work out solutions to facilitate the growth of the shipping industry.
“I believe in consultation, not confrontation. This is a country of harmonious relationship between all races.
“Government officers as facilitators can help provide a more conducive environment and promote the growth of the shipping industry,” he noted.
Organising chairman Yong Ing Hui, in his speech, pointed out that there was a heavy reliance on water transportation in East Malaysia.
Among those present were chairman of Malaysia Shipowners’ Association Dato Nordin Mat Yusoff and president of SSSA Ting Heng Kiong.