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Calls on the Government to study the factors causing 13-year delay and extra cost for the implementation of the Gombak River Diversion Project

Media Statement
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw


(Kuala Lumpur, Friday) : I call on the Government to study the factors causing 13-year delay and extra cost for the implementation of the Gombak River Diversion Project and use it as one of the examples to avoid repeated extensions of time and additional expenditure in the implementation of project.

I make the comment on the problems arising from project after visiting the site at Kampung Cangkat, Gombak, with the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the morning of 5 April, 2007.

Flood mitigation is essential for areas susceptible to flooding such as Kuala Lumpur (KL). The main rivers in KL are Klang River, Batu River and Gombak River. They gave rise to the worst flood in KL in 1971. KL Flood Mitigation Plan began the following year. Klang Gates Dam and Batu Dam were completed in1980 and 1987 respectively. In 1984, the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) initiated the Gombak Dam which was cancelled by the Cabinet because of various factors such as protest from residents.

In 1989, DID put forward the Gombak River Convertion Project as an alternative. Excess water from Gombak River is diverted from Kampung Cangkat, Gombak, through a channel of 3.3 km to the Batu Pond that has been enlarged.

The first contractor was appointed for the Gombak River Diversion Project on 10 March 1994 at the cost of RM17,216,000 and the date of completion was finally fixed on 31 July, 2003. DID has many dialogues with residents to discuss various factors. These included the relocation of houses, squatters, diversion alignment, factories, compensation, additional works and the damage of houses during construction.

From 10 March, 1996 to 31 July, 2003, there were 7 extensions of time; the cost increased to RM20 million. Then, after floodings in KL on 21 April, 2001 and 29 October, 2001, DID reviewed the KL Flood Mitigation Plan, including the Gombak River Diversion.

The 2001 ADB report on the review of the KL Mitigation Plan recommended the Stormwater and Road Tunnel (SMART) Project for Klang River and Batu and Jinjang Flood Retention Ponds Project, including the Gombak River Diversion
Project, to rechannel excess water from Gombak River, Batu River, Jinjang River and Keroh River.

The second contractor for Gombak River Diversion is Peremba ECD Construction Sdn Bhd. This contractor undertakes to enlarge ponds in Jinjang, builds large drain and underground piping to channel water from Keroh River, Jinjang River and Batu River. This is the Batu and Jinjang Flood Retention Ponds Project. The duration is from 25 August, 2003 to 24 May, 2007. Hitherto, the project is extended to 27 December, 2007.

The problems affecting the project include land acquisition RM88 million, the relocation of electricity and Telecom cables as well as water piping, some residents exploited the situation,  a certain subcontractor is not paid by the main contractor and the closure of Gombak River by at least 1 km to be used as part of the highway.

The Gombak River Diversion Project should be a lesson to avoid delay and increasing cost. Besides being worried about the possible misuse of public fund for flood mitigation,we are looking forward to the City Hall Kuala Lumpur to maintain all drains effectively. City folks must look after drains and rivers.


*Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP Deputy National Chairman and MP for Kepong

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