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Why No News of Approvals for Sabah Flood Mitigation?

Kota Kinabalu:    “The turning of a blind eye to Sabah’s problems and the continuing failure of the federal government in addressing Sabah’s problems will make Sabahans angrier.  Worse still, it will contribute towards Sabahans wanting to opt out of the federation since there is a breakdown in the federation system of equal partnership” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief.

Devastating floods especially the last 2 years in Sabah have claimed lives, destroyed homes and schools as well as roads and bridges and massive destruction of crops.  The floods have even submerged the towns of Donggongon and Tenom.  Many are still suffering from the damaging effects of the floods.

The Drainage and Irrigation Department have done a good job in proposing several flood mitigation programs including that for the Moyog River to reduce floods in Donggongon and Penampang.  It was reported that only about RM200 million would be needed with the first phase to cost about RM65 million to mitigate the floods in Penampang including Donggongon.

Alas, it appears that their good work will go to waste as there is no news of any approvals for funds from the federal government to carry out the flood mitigation programs.

Meantime, more disappointment and anger greet Sabahans when news keep coming that various flood mitigation programs are being carried out and flood aid distributed in the Peninsula.  

The latest being the RM300 million flood mitigation program in Kerian District in Perak which is scheduled for completion in 2016/2017.   Earlier in the year, PM Najib announced that RM480 million will be spent for flood mitigation in Kemaman and another RM700 million in Pahang.   Yet, Sabah which is equivalent to 9 States in Malaya in size appears to be getting a big “0” for flood mitigation.

To add salt to the injury, 2 days ago, the Agriculture and Agro-Industry Ministry distributed RM1.57 million in aid to farmers in Kedah and Perlis whose padi fields were damaged by floods last month.

Sabahans are not jealous that States in Malaya are receiving funds from the federal government for such programs or wanting them to be stopped or reduced.   They just want their fair share for Sabah especially now that Sabah has started production since early October 2014 at the new Gumusut Kakap oil and gas facility off Sabah that will increase Sabah’s crude oil production by 135,000 barrels per day in 2015 in addition to natural gas.

One can only ask questions and guess the reasons why there is no news of any approvals for flood mitigation or federal flood aid in Sabah. 

Amongst the reasons are; the Sabah government is not doing their job in asking from the federal government or the federal government is not cooperating with the Sabah government. Another reason maybe that the 6 federal Ministers and 4 Deputy Ministers from Sabah are sleeping on the job and not bringing up the matter for attention and decision in the Cabinet or that they have no say in PM Najib’s Cabinet.   

Of course, the ultimate result is that the federal government is not prioritizing and sidelining Sabah in development allocations and pretending not to know the real flood situation in Sabah. 

Whatever the reasons, Sabahans continue to suffer in the event of floods and more floods are anticipated with the rainy season just round the corner.

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