KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Pakatan Harapan chairman Christina Liew has criticised the Sabah government for the delay in implementing the promised RM70 million flood mitigation project in Kota Belud district.
Her comments come in the wake of major floods hitting the area for the second time in a matter of just three months.
More than 1,800 people were reported to have been evacuated from their homes at the height of the floods in Kota Belud yesterday.
The district experienced its worst flood ever in October, displacing more than 2,500 people.
During the state legislative assembly here in November, it was announced that the Sabah government had approved a RM50 million allocation for a flood mitigation project along Sungai Kedamaian.
Flood mitigation projects worth RM20 million for Sungai Gurong Gurong were also reported to be at the offer stage and will be implemented soon, the assembly heard.
“Are these promises to dredge the rivers in the flood-hit areas just lip service to pacify the people and win the support of the people in the upcoming general election?” Liew asked at a press conference here today.
“How many devastating floods should the people of Kota Belud suffer before funds from the much-publicised projects are made available?”
Liew, who is also Sabah PKR chairman, wanted to know the status of a current project worth RM4.6 million to deepen the estuary of Sungai Abai in order to enhance the river’s flow to the sea.
She also demanded the government explain the effectiveness of the project by the drainage and irrigation department (DID) since 2015, with nearly RM9 million in federal allocations spent on small post-flood and river rehabilitation projects along the river.
Liew, who is Api-Api assemblyperson, also criticised three top Sabah Umno leaders – Kota Belud MP Rahman Dahlan, Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak and Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia – for their absence as the people of Kota Belud face the current floods.
FMT has contacted these Sabah Umno leaders to respond to Liew’s claim, and is still awaiting their comments.
River sedimentation and land surface runoff, caused by the devastating earthquake that hit nearby Ranau in June 2015, were among the reasons given for the floods in Kota Belud.