TENOM: Some RM215 million has been listed in the 11th Malaysia Plan (RMK11) for the proposed project to stabilize the riverbanks of Padas and Pegalan rivers and the flood prevention plan for Tenom.
While these proposed projects will require huge allocation, they are crucial in reducing the erosion rate of riverbanks which will jeopardize the safety of the local communities and public properties especially when flood disaster occurs.
The state Minister of Rural Development, Datuk Radin Malleh, said to the media after his working visit to the area to inspect Padas and Pegalan rivers using boats owned by Tenom JBPM department, last Monday.
Also accompanying him were the district officer, Madiyem Layapan, Keningau/Tenom Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS) engineers, JPS enforcement officer for Tenom, Andy Fung, and related government department representatives.
The Melalap Assemblyman (ADUN) also said the inspection’s finding will give additional input for the government especially to Sabah Department of Irrigation and Drainage as the agency responsible for the projects.
“Besides from trenching the riverbanks, straightening and deepening works for the riverbed will also be carried out by the government,” he added.
“With the inspection’s finding, I am confident that the federal government will give more allocation for the state government to handle the riverbank erosion problem,” he said.
The riverbank inspection is a follow-up for his first inspection with related departments carried out in 29 December 2004.
“During my first inspection in 2004, we successfully reached Kg. Liuh via boats,” he said. “But this time, out boats are not able to reach Kg. Liuh and we have to land at Kg. Kallang Kanar because the Pegalan river has become shallow,” he explained.
Based on recent studies, the strong river current has been identified as one of the factor contributing to riverbank erosion, he said.
The erosion then slowly increases the amount of sediments in the riverbed and causing it to become shallower, he added.
He also said the shallow riverbed containing sediments caused floods more prone to happen and affect the lives of the communities living along the rivers.
He opined that the government should immediately launch the stabilization projects to repair Padas and Pegalan rivers for the safety of lives and public properties in Tenom.
He also reminded the residents living in close proximity to the river to be cautious and report any eroded riverbanks to the authority for follow-up action. – SayangSabah