KUANTAN, June 14 — Sultan of Pahang, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, has called for stricter enforcement to prevent development in river reserves that could pollute the state’s rivers.

His Royal Highness said this was important to maintain water quality and achieve the goal of making rivers the heart of life.

“As I have directed in other districts, our rivers in Pahang should be essential to our well-being, not the opposite.

“I have been informed that rivers in Pahang have a mandated buffer zone, ensuring no industry can be built along their banks,” said the Ruler at the handover of keys for the Rumah Rakyat Al-Sultan Pahang (Ru’rasa) and a briefing on the Flood Mitigation Project at Kampung Batu Empat, Jalan Sungai Lembing, here today.

Al-Sultan Abdullah expressed hope that the Sungai Kenau flood mitigation project would be completed on schedule and emphasised the need to deepen the river in the densely populated Sungai Lembing town area.

“I believe this urban area requires more attention. The river needs to be deepened to prevent overflow. Regardless of how high the banks are, if the river is shallow, the water can flood the town. We need to focus on this area.

“We don’t want the people of Sungai Lembing to be plagued by floods, not just yearly but monthly. It’s time to take action, and I hope the residents can be patient during the construction period,” said His Highness.

The project, which began in November last year, is expected to be completed by November 2026. It aims to reduce the risk of flooding to 200 ARI (average recurrence interval), decrease the flood-affected population from 4,600 to 400, and reduce the flood-affected area from 40 hectares to four hectares.

Al Sultan Abdullah also urged Ru’rasa house recipients to maintain their homes well and refrain from selling or renting them to outsiders.

“This project, a joint effort between the UAE government and myself, has completed phase one with 186 houses ready and only four left to complete.

“Phases two and three will proceed until we achieve approximately 790 housing units. We are committed to continuing through all phases, ensuring these homes become a haven for our families, enduring as cherished heirlooms for generations,” said the Sultan.

Al-Sultan Abdullah expressed his intention to provide comfort to those in need of housing, particularly those affected by flood issues.

His Highness also awarded Ru’rasa single-storey houses with land to 16 recipients in Kuantan district. Each house costs RM75,000 and covers an area of 750 square feet, marking the eighth district to receive these homes. — Bernama