PENAMPANG: The government has been urged to be sensitive to the plight of the people affected by the construction of the Pan Borneo highway, as many people have been badly affected by frequent floodings.
These are people who are living along the highway and whose houses were not subject to compulsory acquisition by the government to make way for the Pan Borneo Highway, said Kapayan assemblyman Dr Edwin Bosi in a statement.
Bosi, who is Parti Anak Negeri chief coordinator for P.174 Penampang, said, he has met one such resident, Madam Ho, at her home in Kampung Maang, about four kilometres from Donggongon township.
According to Ho, whose house fronts the highway, the frequent floodings has been making her life miserable as she has to cope by herself after her husband passed away two years ago. Their home furniture, small engineering workshop, vegetable garden, nursery and fish ponds have been completely destroyed by the floods brought about by the construction of the highway.
Bosi said while the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway is well and good, the government must also see to it that the people do not have to suffer unnecessarily.
"I am shocked and saddened to see that there was no concrete drain constructed along the new highway in Kampung Maang. The present drain is not only small but is also severely clogged with vegetation at many spots.
"I strongly believe that Madam Ho's problem could be resolved if a big concrete drain were to be constructed to enable the discharge of excess water from her area" Bosi said.
He added that reclamation and construction of commercial housing, such as the Park Residence nearby, had already compounded her flooding problem.
"While it is good to see more commercial housing coming up in Kampung Maang, the drainage system must surely be upgraded properly and put in place first. I am therefore calling on the Penampang District Council to be extra strict on this matter for the sake of the people here.â€
Bosi added a government that claims to be people-friendly should not wait for these affected people to make complaints but should be proactive, go down to the ground and listen to the grievances of the people and, where necessary, provide compensation for property loss brought about by the floods as a result of the construction of the mega Pan Borneo Highway project.