KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Malaysians have to change their mindset and start caring for rivers, the developer of the River of Life (RoL) project said.

Tan Sri Lim Keng Cheng, managing director of RoL project developer Ekovest Bhd, however, said he has personally seen people throwing rubbish into the river upstream from where the RoL project is located.

“Once I saw a woman getting out of a BMW near Hulu Kelang highway and threw three rubbish bags into the river,” he was reported saying by local daily The Star.

In another illustration of such indiscriminate rubbish dumping habits, Lim shared his sighting of a woman throwing rubbish at the side of the road in the Titiwangsa area, and the only thing he could do was to get out of his car to tell her off.

Launched in 2011, the RoL project was aimed at cleaning up the Klang River and Gombak River within Kuala Lumpur and to revive them by transforming them into waterfront areas with economic and commercial value via beautification and land development.

Lim has kept a close watch on the Gombak River which he said had frequently turned into a “two-tone muddy colour” due to sludge from activities to clear the land upstream of the river, reportedly saying it was disappointing especially when so much work and money was spent on the project.

“However, this is not a government problem but a community problem.

“We cannot make any difference if people do not change their mindset and how they see the river,” he was quoted saying by The Star.

Describing himself as a Gombak boy, Lim said it was his dream for the rivers in his neighbourhood to become clean and expressed his hope that Malaysians could follow the model at the San Antonio River Walk in Texas.

Lim said the local residents and local businesses around the San Antonio River Walk waterfront had taken it upon themselves to collectively care for the river together by managing and absorbing maintenance costs there.

He hoped that Malaysia’s private sector too could “develop a sense of belonging to care for the river”.

The Star had recently reported of upstream land-clearing activities muddying up the Gombak River, as well as vandalism and theft of public property along the River of Life project.

Today, the paper cited sources as saying that two collapsible weirs at the Klang River under two projects worth RM35 million were “out of commission”.

The collapsible weirs were required to raise water levels in the river to enable plans for water taxis or gondolas, but The Star noted that one of the weirs at the Daya Bumi Complex area failed to work upon completion due to its jamming from sand and that it has been removed.

As for the other weir located at Brickfields that The Star said appeared to be under construction, Kuala Lumpur Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) director Nishad Mohamed CJ Mohd Shaffy reportedly said that the contract is being terminated and that the department is taking action on the matter.