TAIPING: A 40-member team from the Fire and Rescue Department will leave for Australia on Wednesday (Jan 15) to assist in the bushfire crisis happening there, says Zuraida Kamaruddin.
The Housing and Local Government Minister said besides the Fire and Rescue personnel, an additional 20 members from another government agency would also assist.
She said the authorities in Australia are in need of manpower, and thus the department's experts would be assisting them.
"Our personnel will be offering their expertise, experience and advice in handling bushfires.
"We will assist in anyway to help prevent the fire from spreading in New South Wales," she told reporters after visiting the Kuala Sepetang jetty near here.
Australia is facing its worst bushfire since September last year, with the state of New South Wales (NSW) on the East Coast being one of the worst-hit.
It was reported that more than 100 bushfires are burning in NSW alone.
On the jetty, Zuraida said a RM2mil budget has been approved to upgrade the jetty, which is mainly for tourists to take boat rides along the mangrove river.
She is hoping that the modern jetty would be ready by end of the year.
"The current wooden jetty will be replaced with a concrete one, housing a ticket counter, surau, waiting area, and a proper pedestrian walkway," she added.
She also suggested for the Taiping Municipal Council to look into ways, where part of the river could be transformed into a floating market.
"Since the river is popular for its cockles, maybe that could be sold on the floating market, other food and drinks as well," she added.
Zuraida said she was also informed by an expert that when tourists go further for eagle watching, they should not overfeed the birds.
"If the eagles eat too much, the eggs that they lay can easily break.
"To ensure the population of the eagles don't dwindle, each boat ferrying tourists must only have limited food for the birds," she added.
Zuraida also suggested that villagers, whose houses face the river, paint their facade in bright colours.
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