Wan Junaidi (second right) examines the damaged bund in Kpg Sungai Bedaun.
KUCHING: A total of RM1.2 million was approved for a fast-track project to save houses in several villages from being inundated at high tide.
Santubong MP Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he was made aware of this problem last week, but had been kept busy by campaigning obligations in Tanjung Dato followed by administrative work waiting for him in his office.
Wan Junaidi who is also Natural Resource and Environment Minister visited the broken bund at Kpg Sungai Bedaun yesterday, and other potential problem spots at Kpg Sungai Batu and and Kpg Sungai Lumut as highlighted by Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID).
“I asked DID director Chok Moi Soon to provide details together with the amount of money needed. Initially, it came up to almost RM6 million but some of these areas are not inhabited. So I asked to prioritise villages and places that are inhabited,” he told reporters.
Wan Junaidi said as this was an emergency, his ministry approved the funds immediately. The normal channel could take up to four months. He said it was handed over to DID to find a contractor to finish the work within two to three months.
“I’ve asked officers from my service centre to assure something is done within two weeks. If not, they are to inform me.”
Kpg Sungai Bedaun was declared a Malay traditional village by the state government. The bund built by Land Custody and Development Authority (Pelita) was not properly maintained and broke, allowing river and sea water to creep into the village and flood houses in its path.
Meanwhile Wan Junaidi called on logging companies to take responsibility for ensuring their logs do not become an obstacle in the river, endangering people.
“In Sarawak, rivers are still a mode of transportation. I call on loggers and transporters to keep their logs under control,” he said, urging NRED to act immediately against those responsible.
“Those with licences to log should look beyond profit by considering the interest of the community.
“Logging causes floods. When logging and agriculture happens, river reserves are not maintained, sedimentation occurs, the river becomes shallow, and can only take a limited volume of water.”
He reminded plantation owners that river reserves are not meant for cultivation. “I’ve seen oil palms completely take over river reserves designated by the government. This is not good. The reserve must be maintained to stop sediments (from development) getting into the river,” he said.
He urged the state government to act as this is under their jurisdiction.