KOTA KINABALU: Taxpaying Tawau residents in Sabah's east coast will have to put up with the continuous threat of floods for yet another year because the federal government had failed to account for mitigation efforts under its Budget 2011.
Tawau parliamentarian Chua Soon Bui revealed that the budget had not made provisions for the widening and straightening of the Sungai Tawau, which is the only solution to end flooding of the housing areas at Sin Onn and Apas in Tawau.
Chua lashed out at the government for marginalising Tawau despite the urgency of the situation and described the federal response as "insensitive, inconsiderate and irresponsible".
“It is very insensitive of the government to continue ignoring the sufferings of the people.
"If the federal government can compensate the four highway concessionaires with RM5 billion for the next five years, why can't the government at least allocate RM50 million to start work on the flood mitigation project in Tawau?"
Chua said that the flood problem affecting at least 30,000 households had worsened in recent months with another two serious floods recently.
“It is totally ridiculous when residential houses in urban areas are still subject to floods. The people of Tawau are also taxpayers yet they have to suffer from continuous power and water disruptions, bad roads, traffic jams and floods.
"A proposal to widen and realign Sungai Tawau has been proposed by the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) many times.
"It has become an emergency in Tawau and more residential areas will be affected by floods if the plan to widen the Sungai Tawau is not implemented as soon as possible.
"It is the responsibility of the government to the people of Tawau, otherwise the concept of '1Malaysia. People First and Performance Now' is only for show,” she said.
Chua was responding to a reply in Parliament by Energy, Green Technology and Water Deputy Minister Joseph Kurup that there was no allocation in the Budget 2011 for flood mitigation in Tawau.
Kurup, who is also from Sabah, acknowledged that DID had presented a proposal to the ministry for implementation of a flood mitigation scheme to start next year.
He said the state government would provide an allocation of about RM1 million to carry out studies on the problem and for related works next year and a further allocation of about RM3 million in 2012.