Telang Usan rep defends gabion wall installation as interim solution for riverbank erosion in Baram

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Dennis Ngau

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By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, July 10: The installation of gabion walls along the road at the riverbank near Long Ekang longhouse in Baram is an interim measure while both the Sarawak and Federal governments explore a long-term solution, according to Telang Usan assemblyman Datuk Dennis Ngau.

Dennis was addressing a statement yesterday (July 9) made by Save Rivers chairman Peter Kallang, who criticised the installation of gabion walls along the road between Long Ekang and Lulo Banyoh in Baram, stating that they were wasteful and ineffective in preventing riverbank erosion.

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In an exclusive interview with DayakDaily today, the Telang Usan assemblyman highlighted that riverbank erosion is a significant issue affecting multiple villages in his constituency.

“This (Long Ekang) is the fourth longhouse in my kawasan (area) that experienced serious riverbank erosion,” he said. “The first was Long Wat, Sungai Apoh, followed by Long Bemang, Sungai Apoh, and Long Banyok, Baram.”

“I was contacted by the Ketua Kampung (village head) of Long Ekang longhouse due to riverbank erosion, and I requested an estimate and a site inspection by the Public Works Department (JKR).

“JKR estimates that the retaining wall along the entire longhouse of Long Ekang will cost more than RM35 million to build.

“I have mentioned verbally to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof about this matter,” Dennis claimed.

“As the amount needed is significant, we were directed to explore alternative solutions.”

One proposed solution by JKR and the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Sarawak involved diverting the water flow to prevent further erosion, estimated to cost RM2 million.

“This estimate was forwarded to the Federal government, and we are still waiting for their response as of today, but I am hopeful that the Federal government will take into account the State government’s needs.

“So, while we await a decision on this matter, Peter Kallang raised it. And apparently, this gabion wall installation at Long Ekang was undertaken under the supervision of DID Sarawak, who I believe built it as an interim measure to help cover some of the riverbank erosion.

“And I believe the fund comes from the Federal government and costs approximately RM100,000,” Dennis explained.

When asked about the effectiveness of the gabion wall installation, Dennis asserted that it is not a waste of money and is a temporary fix while the government works on a more robust solution.

The Telang Usan assemblyman further urged for patience and continued support from both federal and State governments.

“We welcome all help. This is a natural disaster, and we need long-term solutions. While the gabion wall is not perfect, it is a step towards addressing the immediate concerns.” — DayakDaily

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