Bung heads special panel on natural disasters

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Three people were killed in a landslide in Penampang after hours of non-stop rain on Wednesday. (Fire dept pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah deputy chief minister Bung Moktar Radin has been appointed as chairman of a special committee to look into the increase in the number of natural disaster incidents in the state.

Bung, who is also state works minister, said the Sabah cabinet had entrusted him with finding out the exact causes of the incidents, particularly the frequent flash floods after heavy rain.

Presently, he said flash floods would likely take place after a downpour lasting more than four hours.

“But we do not know the source so we will carry out studies to identify it in order to find solutions,” he told reporters at the state public works department (PWD) office here today.

He gave an assurance that the state would take the necessary measures to resolve the issues identified by the study.

To a question, Bung, who is also Sabah Umno chief, said he did not discount the possibility that the Pan Borneo Highway project, which is still ongoing, was one of the factors behind the worsening flood situation.

Yesterday, Warisan vice-president Junz Wong questioned the efforts of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government in addressing the flood problem in the state capital as well as neighbouring districts, such as Penampang and Putatan.

Wong had also urged the state government to disclose the status of the flood mitigation plans that involved Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding areas.

“GRS has been in power for a year, so what has happened to the flood mitigation plans?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Bung also explained that water supply had to be cut off temporarily in some areas after Wednesday’s floods in Penampang.

This was because the water treatment plants were flooded and filled with mud and debris, he said, adding that clean-up work and assessment of damaged equipment were under way.

“It will take about a month to repair the equipment as the replacement parts will need to be brought in from outside Sabah,” he said, adding that he had instructed the water department to send alternative water supply to the affected residents.

Bad weather caused havoc in the state capital, Penampang and other districts on Wednesday.

Hours of non-stop rain also triggered a number of landslides, including one that hit a workers’ quarters in Penampang which killed three people.

Some 30 flood victims are still being housed in a temporary shelter in Penampang as at 8am today.

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