Kalabakan MP Ma'mun Sulaiman urged the Government to speed the widening, straightening, and deepening of the Tawau River following Friday's unusual flood situation, especially along Jalan Apas, that has become critical.
He said he was made to understand that the project was approved and so implementation should be expedited for the sake of residents living in flood-prone areas and settlements situated near the river.
Describing the flood situation as "extraordinary" as it affected most areas here, he said while natural disasters are unavoidable, flood mitigation programmes must be carried out, particularly drainage.
At the same time, Ma'mun said the villagers need to regularly conduct gotong-royong to clean up the drains in their respective areas and ensure no indiscriminate dumping of rubbish into the river.
"Contractors and the concessionaires should be alert and always monitor the problematic areas before the situation turns worse as this concerns lives and property," he said, during his visit to several affected areas along Jalan Apas with Civil Defence Force (APM).
He commended the District Disaster Management Committee such as Fire and Rescue Department, APM, and police, among others, for their prompt action in helping the victims as early as 5.30am.
Ma'mun said his house was also flooded and he was only able to leave around 9.30am to monitor the flood affected areas although he was informed by villagers at 6am. "This is a serious flood and we hope the mitigation programmes can be carried out soon because many will be affected by this natural disaster which can be avoided if the drainage system is well maintained," he said.
He also urged the Meteorological Department to be more alert in issuing warnings of bad weather soon as possible as the department's website only issued the warning at about 7.55am while the impact of heavy rain was already felt at 3am.
Meanwhile, Servay Jaya Supermarket, Eastern Cineplex and Promenade hotel situated along Jalan Kuhara, here, suffered huge losses and power disruptions due to Friday's surprise flash flood.
State Assistant Minister cum Sri Tanjong Assemblyman Datuk Jimmy Wong said Servay may be closed for 10 days for cleaning works.
Servay opened for business at Eastern Plaza in 2009 and had encountered flooding four times but the May 3 flash flood was the worst as a number of items in the supermarket were damaged.
The supermarket management is forced to borrow a water-pump from the district fire and rescue department.
As for compensation, Promenade Tawau transferred more than 20 China tourists to another nearby hotel because of power disconnection.
Jimmy was informed that the management of Sabah Urban Development Corporation (SUDC) did not send out their officers to Eastern Plaza for inspection after the flooding and most of the business operators in the plaza were disappointed with SUDC.
However, he said the new government will not hesitate to take action on SUDC if failed to solve the problems at Eastern Plaza.
Jimmy said Eastern Plaza is situated nearby the Tawau river and always affected directly if flooding due to its low terrain surface. Indeed, the respective location is not suitable for building plaza or hotel.
Nevertheless, he asked for help from the government through the department of Irrigation and Drainage to build river fortress along Tawau river to prevent flash floods at Eastern Plaza here.