Sabah needs full RM480mil allocation for flood mitigation, says Kitingan

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah needs the full RM480mil federal funding for the comprehensive implementation of flood mitigation projects to stop the recurring floods here and in Penampang, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

He said the state so far received RM280mil for two of four packages for a comprehensive solution to the perennial flooding problem that affects Penampang, Putatan and also parts of Kota Kinabalu.

“We have two more packages that need to be done simultaneously to mitigate the flooding problem,” he said on Friday (Sept 17) after visiting various areas hit by Wednesday’s (Sept 15) floods that left three people dead and a trail of damage and landslides.

“The Federal Government needs to allocate the money quickly, especially with the coming monsoon rains. We need to mitigate the problem.

“We can expect more floods. We need the full allocation for the project, not half,” he said, adding that the project was placed under 11th Malaysia Plan, which is already set to end this year.

“If we don’t solve it, people will get angry,” he said, adding that the recent floods had not only caused damage to property but also took lives.

Kitingan, who is state Agriculture and Fishery Minister, said the state Drainage and Irrigation Department was already carrying out works under the two packages but needed assistance from other agencies to remove bottlenecks.

Among the immediate issues were to shift people living in areas close to the rivers in Putatan and Penampang, as well as to move electrical poles and water pipes that were part of efforts to broaden and deepen the drains from three metres to seven metres.

“It involves working with various agencies who need to carry out the task at specific times,” he said, adding that it involved meetings with Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd, Water Department and the Public Works Department.

Wednesday’s flood was the second in 10-days in the state, which so far have been hit by a total of five major floods this year, with Penampang district and low-lying Kota Kinabalu among the worst hit.