Residents want river bank straightening work to continue

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The proposed area to straighten the river where the suspension bridge will be removed to the opposite side of the river.

KENINGAU: The flood that hit Pegalan River early yesterday morning submerged the Kampung Baginda Muslim cemetery and a football field.

Several other public facilities, including homes, also faced the threat of collapse due to the river bank erosion.

The flood that occurred at 4.30am was a cause of concern for thousands of village residents due to the threat of the bank erosion that would affect a mosque, church and a health clinic.

Also threatened are more than ten houses that are close to the river bank.

The villagers are asking the government to give attention, and early measures should be taken to save the village houses, including a number of public facilities and the cemetery.

“People are now increasingly desperate and worried about their safety if straightening the river bank in the village was not done immediately,” said Kampung Baginda Laut Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) chairman Rasidi Marujin during a discussion with village community leaders here yesterday.

The meeting was held at the residence of Kampung Baginda Ulu JKKK chairman Juhilin Juhinan and attended by the village Imam, Haji Hamzah Baba, village head Sahin Hasmin, village mosque chairman Haji Yunus Dasin, JKKK secretary Abu Bakar Mairin and village Umno Youth chief Said Karto.

Rasidi who chaired the meeting, said the flooding was often a nightmare to the residents, especially those who live near the river bank.

“The two things that are causing problems to the villagers are river bank erosion and the village cemetery. We hope all residents will give full commitment to jointly address this problem,” he said and pointed out that the graveyard had never been flooded before.

According to him, this was due to a river bend causing water to overflow into the cemetery.

“Previously, a quarry company was straightening the river bank but due to objections from some of the residents, the project was discontinued.

“With the action of some of the residents, the village community now faces the consequences. Some of the people had formed the Pegalan River action committee and the work of straightening the river bank was discontinued,” he said.

Rasidi said the committee that was set up could not do anything to solve the flood problem and not one of its committee leaders had turned up to help.

He said as long as the JKKK in both villages still existed, the committee is deemed not valid.

“The decision taken in today’s meeting was that the village community leaders agree to call the company to discuss work on straightening the river bank so that water would no longer flow to the cemetery.”

Rasidi also asked residents not to entertain complaints from some residents as the village management is under the authority of JKKK, village heads and the District Officer.

“We want the quarry company to continue with its work and to talk to the District Officer, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Department of Lands and Surveys, Public Works Department and the Department of Environment soon.

“We will also provide a proposal plan for the work to straighten the river bank,” he said.