Tuesday, April 23

DID urged to focus on riverbanks, coastline erosion


Dr Sim (fourth right), flanked by Penguang (fourth left) and Chok, leads the cake-cutting ceremony to mark DID’s 50th anniversary. Lo is at second left. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) needs to look into the issue of erosion affecting the state’s riverbanks and coastline areas seriously.

In this regard, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said based on the National Coastal Erosion Study 2015 published by the department, it is indicated that out of the state’s 1,234km coastline, a stretch of 163km is either facing critical or significant erosions.

He said this problem not only threatens riverine settlements like those in Simunjan, Gedong, Lundu and Batu Kawa, but also the drainage and irrigation schemes slated for these areas.

“This issue involves many contributing factors including the planning aspects as well as other human and development activities within the catchment areas and coastal zones.

“This will require inter-agency collaboration. In stating this, the DID can work with my ministry to formulate policies in order to help address some of these issues in a more holistic and inclusive manner in the future,” he said at the department’s 50th anniversary dinner on Thursday.

According to Dr Sim – also Batu Kawah assemblyman – DID has always played a vital role when it comes to improving the quality of life of the people across many sectors.

“In the urban areas, DID plays its part in addressing flood problems through mitigation and urban-drainage programmes.

“For example, the RTB (Flood Mitigation Project) Sibu Phase I and II which reached completion in 2015 at a total cost of RM191 million, was among the high-impact flood mitigation projects carried out by DID. The (Sibu) project alleviated the flood problem in areas covering over 400 hectares and benefited over 20,000 people,” he said.

Dr Sim was also happy to note that the state DID received state and federal allocations of over RM800 million for the implementation of various projects between 2016 and 2020.

He hoped that all these planned projects would progres smoothly and reach completion within the stipulated time and estimated cost.

Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil, Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang who is also Padawan Municipal Council chairman, and DID Sarawak director Chok Moi Soon were present at the event.