TENOM: For the past two months, the folks at Kampung Pangi and Rayoh here have been using inspection trolleys as a mean of transportation.
All this while, the community has been depending on the railway to go to school, business and work until the flooding in May.
The disaster had caused severe damage and landslides at KM114 in Rayoh and KM124 and KM 130 in Pangi of the rail tracks which resulted the temporary suspension of the service for the Tenom-Pangi and Rayoh route.
Thus, the inspection trolley with a capacity of eight-person, is the only one can pass through the damaged track areas around the clock, which villagers will travel by the trolley to KM135 before boarding the scheduled diesel multiple unit (DMU) for Tenom.
As Sabah Public Works Ministry is repairing the works, its assistant minister Datuk Robert Tawik had called on the state Railway Department (JKNS) to provide more Inspection Trolleys (IT) for folks in Kampung Pangi and Rayoh in Tenom.
He had also called for the use of Suria Capital Engineering Services (SCES) maintenance machinery to assist residents, as well as logistical planning to transport building materials and workers to the work site.
RM50 million flood mitigation project for Tenom next year
The government will spend RM50 million to construct a 4.4 kilometre-long bund to alleviate flooding in Tenom town.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the tender for the project would be called early next year, and the construction is expected to be completed by 2025.
“This is only the first phase of the flood mitigation project in Tenom. The Tenom bund will be up to seven metres tall, with five main culverts built and flap gates on all outlets.
“The project will also put in place a better flood and warning monitoring as well as raise the road across the bund according to the standard set by the Public Works Department,” he said after visiting the Tenom irrigation and drainage department in the district on Friday.
Kitingan, the Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, said the location of Tenom town near the confluence of the Pegalan River and the Padas River means the town is always at risk of being flooded whenever heavy rain occurs.
Houses built along the main Padas River are mostly below the road level, and unfortunately, the Tenom Bund Project will not be able to protect them from future floods.
The Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) proposed that these residents be relocated to higher ground before a tragedy occurred, such as the loss of lives.
However, this proposal will need to be deliberated further with the District Office, such as replacing lost land, identifying proper housing areas, and compensating where necessary.
Tenom suffered one of its worst floods six weeks ago, forcing more than 5,000 residents to flee their homes.
“We are also considering other potential solutions to the problem, such as diverting the river further away from the population and building an artificial lake which could also serve as a water reservoir for the district,” said Kitingan.
Kitingan pointed out that the flood problem is a natural phenomenon due to the district location near two major rivers in the interior of Sabah.
However, the more frequent and severe flooding the Tenom residents have seen over the last decade may have been caused by human activities upstream.
These environmentally damaging activities, such as logging and agriculture, have resulted in erosion, degradation of water catchment areas, and mud floods.
“I hope that after the bund is completed, floods like the ones that occurred in 2014 and in May of this year would no longer occur,” he concluded.