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50 years living with the coast of Sabah
Published on: Sunday, December 24, 2017

Ir Dr Michael Tay

MORE than three billion people live in the coastal zone around the world, and this number is still increasing. The coastal zone is most dominantly influenced by human activities through coastal developments for residential, commercial, industrial and recreational uses.

The area is especially prone to conflicts because it is densely populated, culturally important and is the locus for growth in multiple sectors including industry, agriculture, transport, trade and tourism. Sabah’s coastline, being the longest of any state in Malaysia, stretches about 1,743km and faces three seas.

Hence, understanding and managing Sabah’s coastal zone is highly important to the sustainable development of the state.

The coast is a dynamic and ever evolving place. Natural sand beaches appear as fast as they disappear, due to the forcing action of wind, waves, currents, and tides that can not only erode the shore but also expand it with sedimentation. Tropical storm systems gather energy from the ocean and intensify natural coastal forces with wind, waves, and typhoon powerful enough to cause harm and hasten erosive processes.

The coast is also made more vulnerable to these natural dynamic forces by sea level rise. Therefore, inclusion of these related factors of this area of concern is deemed crucial for coastal developments.

The participation of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) in the government decision making process is mainly through the technical aspects of coastal engineering and shoreline management.

In view of the increasing incidences of coastal erosion and developmental activities in the coastal zone, the Department has published guidelines on erosion control for development projects in the coastal zone entitled “Garis Panduan JPS 1/97 – Guidelines on Erosion Control for Development Projects in the Coastal Zone” aim at ensuring proper planning and implementation of coastal development projects to obviate the need for costly coastal protection measures as an aftermath of coastal development and to ensure sustainable development in the coastal zone.

Complementing the issuance of the Guidelines JPS 1/97, which require coastal development projects to carry out coastal hydraulic studies, the guideline for the preparation of coastal engineering hydraulic study and impact evaluation using numerical models was published and issued with its fifth edition in December 2001.
The latter guideline and it’s following addendums are intended to assist the consultants and developers in carrying out a thorough coastal hydraulic study and impact assessment, and to promote greater transparency on the needs of the Department as well as to expedite the process of the preparation of the hydraulic report and the Department’s evaluation and advise on the coastal projects.

Realising the need for an integrated approach in coastal zone management to protect the coastal environment and coastal resources for sustainable development, the Department is participating in a national program to produce Integrated Shoreline Management Plan (ISMP) which is an ongoing effort to achieve a balance between development and environment conservation and protection in coastal areas.

The success of the coastal erosion control plan, coastal resources and environment management depends very much on the concerted effort of all stakeholders concerned working actively together.

River mouth management is a major part of the responsibility of DID. Most of the river mouths in Sabah were formed during the Holocene, leading to the mobilisation of large quantities of sediment.
The changes in land use due mainly to urbanisation and agricultural development in the catchment have caused an increase in sediment to be washed into the river channel and ultimately flushed downstream causing siltation in the river mouth. Immediate measure is often undertaken by dredging to maintain sufficient discharge in the river mouth in preparation for upcoming storm events and also to maintain navigation.

Permanent measures such as training the channel and breakwaters are considered and proposed by the Department especially for river mouths serving densely populated catchments.

Tsunami is a natural disaster that is of particular concern to the Department learning from its occurrence in December 2004 at northern Peninsular Malaysia. As a result of that, the Department has conducted a Tsunami study for the east coast of Sabah. The study consists mainly of hazard assessment and risk mapping for the coastal communities.


In recognition of an excellent job

Part 1 of a two-part series.

Kan Yaw Chong

RECOGNISING excellence when we see it is very important. This special Christmas recognition goes to Tawau’s St Patrick’s School Centenary Celebration Organising Committee.

Set up in 1917, St Patrick’s School celebrated its 100th anniversary with an opening Banquet at Promenade Hotel on 7 July, followed by an Open Day 8 July at both its primary and secondary premises, Kuhara.

Any 100th anniversary celebration brings with it super-charged expectations that befit its enormous significance.
In this case, the organisers have only two choices :

Either make it or blow it.

Organising Chairman Peter SK Wong confessed he had “many sleepless nights” because of the overwhelming task of making it.

However, the overwhelming positive experience of the centenary dinner did more than justice to all the unsung pioneers who founded the school 100 years ago.

UK trained Mcee Annie Tsen’s stunning voice left behind an indisputable quality to remember the 100th anniversary Banquet for good, after hearing her belting out ‘Love in any language has a welcoming song’; ‘Under His Wings’ to usher in the centenary cake and a Chinese number ‘ I am a Little Bird,’ besides a raft of good dances and music auditioned and rehearsed by her for show that night.

Tsen’s performance upfront, helped by a magic touch from Kenneth Yap, validated the centenary theme ‘100 Years of Excellence in Education’.

Behind the scene however, there were two dozen people who worked every night to put everything together to produce a fantastic event big time but nobody knows who they were.

So, these unsung volunteers who slogged it out could go unrecognised.

But here they are :

Peter SK Wong ( Organising Chairman); Nora Ho (Secretary); Lim Fon Nyuk (Treasurer); Jap Wong; Maxy Self; Tan Sun Ming; Kong Sue Ye; Ku Kwok Cheong; Chea Lee Sang; Ngui Moi Onn; Veronica Lee; Lydia Chan; Charles Chan; Helena Chai; Camilus Chin; Hjh Saliha Tahir; James Wong; Ma Sui Kong; Peter Lee; Fred Lajot Jr (Primary Principal); and Advisors Dr James Ku (Chairman of School Board); Rev Timothy Sng; Lee Ken Vun ( Secondary Principal).

On the Banquet, James Power, former principal, said : ” It was unbelievable because you couldn’t imagine there could be so many in one place. You look out across the hall and you just see so many heads all you can do is praise God.”

Ken Goodlet, a former deputy Principal, said : “ You dream about having an occasion like this, you wouldn’t believe it would happen really – getting people from all over the world and after such a long time.”

Yes, the founders of St Patrick’s who had the unusual foresight, are long dead.

As Fred Lajot Jr, principal of St Patrick’s Primary School, put it : “We are the lucky ones.”


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