DID to ease drainage woes in Penampang
Published on: Wednesday, July 28, 2021
By: Sidney Skinner
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Work on the crossing has temporarily stopped so that some of the electricity poles and cables in the area can be shifted away.
The Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) is waiting for some electricity lines to be shifted away so that it can finish building a reinforced concrete (RC)-crossing in one part of Penampang.

The agency is also arranging to have a Manggatal drain cleared to reduce the likelihood of flash floods occurring in a neighbourhood nearby.

A DID spokeswoman said the agency hoped that the RC-crossing might ease similar drainage woes in Kg Kasigui and Kg Kibabaig.

“The crossing is part of a project to improve the flow of the Moyog river in the Kibabaig area,” she said.

She said it would take a few years to complete this improvement work.

The contractor’s workers in the process of building the RC-crossing at Kg Kibabaig earlier this year.

“Once it is done, however, part of the water from upstream will be channelled to the Petagas river.

“We are trying to minimise the incidence of flash floods which the public have been experiencing for some time.” 

The crossing was taking the place of the bridge near SK Kibabaig, according to her.

She said work on the structure, which got underway in April, was almost done.

“Less than 20 per cent of the work on the crossing remains to be completed. 

The width of the drain has narrowed substantially because of the water vegetation which has formed on either side of the drain.

“This involves an excavated area which can only be safely dealt with once some electrical installations in the area have been shifted away.”

She said DID officers and representatives from Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) made a joint-inspection of the site earlier this month. 

“SESB is arranging to have the power to the area temporarily shutdown so that the cables and poles can be moved away.”

The spokeswoman said efforts to reinstate the road, which was dug up to have the crossing installed, would proceed once “the hole” had been attended to.

“The culverts have been put in place and a top-up slab has been cast to hold them together.

“The contractor is in the process of overseeing the back-fill to make sure that the concrete hardens properly.”

She said the individual would later have the area levelled before the next phase of the work could begin which involved having the stretch rebuilt. 

On a complaint from a Penampang motorist about traffic woes which arose when the work started, the spokeswoman said the DID was aware of the dissatisfaction which many Kibabaig road-users felt.

This Sepanggar homeowner looks away despondently during the flood at his premises in June.

“The contractor initially had to close the road to accommodate the work to remove the bridge and have the culverts put in place,” she said.

“We regret the inconvenience caused to drivers. We hope that they realise that this is only a temporary set back and will ultimately provide them with better drainage in future.”

She said the DID was working together with the relevant agency to ease the traffic jams there.

“An alternative route has been set up to allow drivers to by-pass the section of the road where the drainage work is taking place.”

Meanwhile, the Department is arranging to desilt a drain behind Lorong Mempelam 3C in the Sepanggar Bay area, following a Manggatal home-owner’s observations about the lack of maintenance carried out on the structure.

The spokeswoman said a contractor had been assigned to dredge up the sediment from the base of the drain and clear the water vegetation which had formed inside.

She said this would tentatively be done some time in August.

“There is no fixed schedule when it comes to maintaining those drains outside the city-limits,” she said.

“Depending on the funds available, we try to have these structures cleaned once or twice a year.”

She said the agency’s drains in the city were generally attended to three to four times annually.

The spokeswoman said some land-clearing work taking place along a section of the drain further away from Taman Sepanggar Phase 2, where the complainant lives, had contributed to the structure becoming clogged.

She said this came to light during a check by DID, City Hall and a local politician in mid-July.

This inspection was prompted after floods hit a village in the area during a particularly heavy downpour around this time, according to her.

“Soil from the reclamation efforts was inadvertently washed into the drain by the rain water.”  

A spokesman for City Hall’s Engineering Department confirmed that two developers had been preparing their respective construction sites at the time.

“A check of our records revealed that one of the pair was operating illegally,” he said. 

“The management of this firm was asked to submit a development plan to us.”

He said both companies were given a stop-work order and asked to clear the mud which had fallen into the drain from their respective properties.

The spokesman said they were also told to create a retention pond to redirect the run-off from their land.

“We have given them the green-light to work on the pond. The developers have also been instructed to demonstrate how they intend to rectify the existing drainage.’

MOO of Manggatal went down to the large drain, behind the row of houses where he lives, a few days after the heavy rain on July 14.

“Thick layers of mud could be seen above the surface of the water inside the culverts,” he said.” 

He said there was also islands, full of overgrown grass, floating close to the culverts.

The width of the drain had narrowed substantially because of these “islands”, according to him.

“I couldn’t understand why these obstacles had not been removed when the structure was last cleaned.

“It is very likely that flash floods may happen again if this work is not carried out properly.”

Moo admitted to having a sleepless night during the downpour in July. 

“Thankfully, the drain did not overflow, flooding my house, in this instance. “

“This most recently happened on a Friday afternoon in June. The big drain filled up quickly and, after less than half an hour of rainfall, my housing road and compound was buried under water.

He said the water eventually rose about one foot high.

“Some of my furniture and electrical appliances were damaged as a result of this.”

He bemoaned the time and energy spent in cleaning up the mud left behind, after the flood had receded.

Moo said the drain had overflowed several times over the past nine months.

Given the recurring flood woes, he hoped the local authorities would step up efforts to maintain the structure move regularly.

“They should focus on having the outlets and culverts for the drain unclogged.” 


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