Involvement Of DID imperative in SPA Planning Approval Process – Dr Sim

KUCHING: The state government is fully aware on the importance of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) to be involved in the State Planning Authority’s (SPA) planning approval process.

Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said the involvement of DID in such a process is important as the DID is in charge and has the technical expertise in drainage matters.

Once DID goes in, at least someone will look at the drain, he told reporters after the handing over of the state government’s contribution of RM500,000 to the Poh Ka Monastery Construction Committee at Jalan Uplands here yesterday.

Dr Sim, who is Batu Kawah assemblyman, was asked on the measures to be taken by his ministry to deal with flash floods happening in various parts of the state, which were partly due to housing and other developments.

Under the current practice, the DID’s advice and comments in the technical planning permission stage have to be conveyed to the SPA through the Land and Survey Department.

Chief Minister Abang Jo (Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg) has said that the state will be utilising the latest ICT technology to come out with digital integrated data so that there will be three dimensional (considerations) not just looking at the planning or the building itself, but the surroundings will also be taken into account.

In his capacity as the minister in charge of housing, Dr Sim said he will provide more details regarding his plans in due time, adding that he had just taken over the portfolio and would require time to familiarise himself with the many housing programmes provided by the government.

I will give more details in due time because I just took over. There are so many programmes. I have a few things in mind. I think the federal government has seven programmes with different criteria.

Nevertheless, Dr Sim said both him and Abang Johari had agreed that meeting housing needs in the state should benefit everybody, regardless of whether they are from rural or urban areas.

The urban (area residents) have different needs. The urban needs include (the interests of) the middle class Chinese especially because even if the husband and wife are working but they are still not able to afford a house.

In stressing that housing is not only a Sarawakian issue, Dr Sim said this challenge is also happening in other countries.

But for me, I want to do something about it as Minister of Housing. In fact, we not only need to address the need for low cost (housing) but also we need to address (housing) for urban middle class.

As for the upper class, they can build their own. They don’t need the government to help.

Dr Sim said while the state government has placed a lot of emphasis for housing in rural areas as well but with the rural-urban migration, it is inevitable that between 70 and 80 per cent of the population in Sarawak will be staying in and near towns and cities.

Meanwhile, in view of the dry spell that is being experienced by the state, Dr Sim advised people to ensure that they drink enough water and make sure that they avoid heat stroke.

For all the public activities in open spaces, the organisers must be aware of all these heat stroke (dangers) and so on.

At the same time, we must learn how to look after the environment better. This cycle will come and go. After the heat wave, the flood (season) will come.

Therefore, we have to restore the balance of the environment. It starts now, with each one of us and we have to be sensible.

He also advised parents to be more responsible by not leaving their children in the car unattended even if they need to get out of the car to do something for a short time.

Sometimes we are so busy, we don’t think and just park our car and go in (to do something) for five minutes only. Sometimes, we will forget and our children end up getting ‘cooked’ in the car.

Source: Borneo Post Online