CAMERON HIGHLANDS, Sept 7 — The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s concern for the environment was evident when he visited the illegally encroached sites near Sungai Ichat, Kuala Terla, here today.
In his maiden visit to the highland after being officially installed as the country’s 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah called upon all quarters to immediately stop illegal encroachment into the Kuala Terla water catchment area, especially near the intake point of the Sungai Ichat dam in the Ulu Ternom sub-district.
Sultan Abdullah said the land encroachment had caused pollution to Sungai Ichat, which is one of the two water sources for Kuala Terla Water Treatment Plant, apart from Sungai Terla, which had not only affected the environment but could also pose a risk to public health.
“Sungai Ichat is an important water source for this area. If the river is polluted, there might not be another water source available for the area.
“So far, the water quality of the river is not good and the state government is in the midst of cleaning it. We want those involved in the illegal land encroachment to stop immediately because the activity has a very damaging effect (on the environment and the local people),” the King decreed.
Sultan Abdullah also decreed that all quarters must set aside their political beliefs and work with each other in ensuring success of the effort to curb illegal land encroachment in Cameron Highlands, particularly in Sungai Ichat.
“The Pahang state government views seriously the matter. That is why actions to demolish (illegal farms) and to reclaim the (encroached) land are being intensified. The federal government is watching and supporting this move.
“Although it has been brought to court, I hope the court can expedite the case so that it won’t be seen as dilly-dallying the continuous efforts to curb the illegal land encroachment,” he said.
On April 11, the state government filed an appeal against the Kuantan High Court’s decision which allowed a temporary suspension of enforcement operations in Cameron Highlands following a lawsuit filed by 23 highland farmers on April 3.
Meanwhile, Sultan Abdullah also expressed hope that highland farmers could venture into modern agriculture which minimises the use of land but capable of generating higher income.
“However, in doing so, they have to submit an application, follow the procedures and adhere to all the terms and conditions,” he added. — Bernama