Retain Likas lagoons, don’t rezone for commercial development - Chan
30 Dec 2021
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA KINABALU: Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin urged the State Government to retain Likas lagoons as water retention pond to mitigate flood and not re-zoned it for commercial development.
Earlier, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Yong Teck Lee stated that a 16.21 hectares (40.05 acres) tract of land in the Likas lagoons have been re-zoned for commercial development back in 2000.
“According to Yong, this land in the Likas lagoons were previously retained as flood mitigation assets to capture the water runoff from the Likas ridge along Tuaran road and the Likas residential areas from Mile 2 to Mile 4 ½.
“Therefore, I wish to state my support for Yong’s call that such land should be retained as a water retention pond to serve as an outlet for the surrounding areas during heavy rains.
“There should be no reclamation allowed by the local authorities in the Likas lagoons, including the land which had been zoned for commercial development and it would be better if the local authorities could reverse the ‘commercial development’ zoning and convert the zoning of the land into water retention ponds,” he said in a statement today.
Chan stated that the effects of climate change can now be seen where areas which rarely flood previously like Kolombong, as well as flooding prone areas such as Likas, Inanam, Lido in Kota Kinabalu and Penampang have already seen multiple flash floods due to continuous heavy rain this year.
He added that the only solution for the government is to speed up measures to protect the country from floods by setting aside more lands for water retention ponds and pumps.
“In a written answer given to me to my question raised during the debate on Dec 2 on the Budget 2022 for Environment and Water Ministry, even the ministry acknowledges that since the flood problem in Likas area is influenced by the tides, the solution requires the construction of a barrage (an artificial barrier to prevent flooding) as well as the installation of pumps.
“Regrettably, the possibility of the implementation of the Likas Barrage is still being studied. I do not understand why it takes so long just to make a decision.
“The government can no longer afford to delay in handling the immediate impact of climate change. We do not need any more floods as it will certainly lead to a lot of properties damages and may even cause lives,” he said.
According to Chan, the ministry also in its answer said that drainage cleaning and dredging works are carried out once every three months while river maintenance is carried out once a year.
In addition, to reduce the impact of floods in the Likas area, Sabah Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) will upgrade the pump system to pump flood water in the Damai and Dah Yeh Villa residential areas.
He said it is also important that the government be more disciplined and not fall into the temptation of commercial development promised by property developers.
“The Likas lagoon may be prime land in Kota Kinabalu with high value for commercial development, but there is no point for such development if the people here end up as flood victims.
“Besides that, I also call upon the Sabah government to clarify when exactly in 2000 (BN era) and how was the 16.21 hectares (40.05 acres) tract of land in the Likas lagoons been zoned for commercial development as revealed by Yong.
“Was it done clandestinely? Who gave the final approval for the conversion of the zoning from water catchment area into commercial? It is time that more information to be revealed to the people of Kota Kinabalu in view of transparency and accountability,” he added.