Monday, May 16, 2022

Tiong cracks the whip on water project delays

Secara Rawak

KUCHING: Water problems troubling the people are getting under the skin of Dudong assemblyman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and he wants the authorities to step on it.

In a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday (Jan 5) he took exception to the many excuses he was given for delays in project implementation.

Emphasising that stable water supply is one of the most important requirements of the people, he said the authorities must complete works within the deadline even if they need to work overnight.

Towards this end Tiong requested the authorities to complete the Sibu Jaya/Kanowit Phase 2 project within two months instead of the originally scheduled three months to alleviate the issue of insufficient water pressure in Sibu Jaya and Salim.

He said this project involved over 1.87km of 1000mm carbon steel cement-lined pipes.

“I had a meeting with Sibu Water Board (SWB) and Sarawak Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) to discuss Sibu Jaya’s water supply issues,” he said, adding that these issues stemmed from the Sibu Jaya/Kanowit Phase 2 project.

According to him, at first, SWB said the project was to be completed in December last year, leading to great expectations among Sibu Jaya residents to finally enjoy proper water supply.

“However, today, they still do not have clean water sources and rely on water trucks to supply their water. It is not difficult to imagine the disappointment and anger they must feel,” he said.

He said the carbon steel cement-lined pipe project was now half complete with the contractors citing insufficient manpower and equipment, traffic congestion at the construction site and other factors as reasons for the project’s delay.

“To me these are wholly unacceptable excuses. Whether the issue lies with the Water Board or all contractors, they should be aware of their responsibilities from day one and prepare enough materials and resources for the construction process to allow the work to be completed within deadline,” said Tiong who is also Bintulu MP.

As for traffic congestion on site affecting the construction process, he said he had offered to arrange for the Dudong Service Centre staff members to help coordinate with the relevant bodies to keep the project running smoothly.

Tiong stressed that the relevant bodies involved in this project must ensure their long-term planning and design of water pipe projects would cope with a rapidly growing population, meet development needs within the next 15 to 20 years without any need to install more pipes in the future.

“In facing rapid development, needing to install pipes in built-up areas would be more complicated and will affect the system badly.

“Sibu in particular has flourished in recent years with more residential projects in full swing. Whether new residents will be able to enjoy a stable and clean water supply depends on the attitudes of government departments looking after the people’s quality of life,” he said.

He also found it unacceptable that some consultants take up to a year to produce design drawings and has thus instructed the relevant consultants or civil engineers of related projects to have a meeting before Jan 18 to discuss and review the matter.

“If there are isolated problems in a project, these could plague the whole of Sibu with water shortages,” he said.

Tiong also reminded everyone involved that they must conduct frequent field inspections and identify areas which face water shortages from time to time.

“There must be 15 to 20 water trucks deployed to deliver water. They cannot wait until residents complain and make statements to the media before rushing out to deliver water supply,” he added.

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