IPOH: Major developments must not be allowed at river reserve land in the country, says Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
The Environment and Water Minister said one of the greatest challenges that the Ministry faces is protecting such sites.
He said it was alright to develop recreational or playgrounds at such areas, but not other major developments such as houses and so forth.
“Land encroachment is an issue, and it becomes really difficult to deal with it when houses are up.
“Thus, it is very important to ensure such reserves are taken care of at the beginning itself to avoid issues later,” he told reporters after launching the Irrigation and Drainage department’s district engineers and senior managers conference at a hotel here on Tuesday (June 14).
Tuan Ibrahim added that during flash floods, landslides and so forth, with structures built right up to the riverbank, the DID found it difficult to get machinery down to the rivers.
“There are several such critical sites in the country that must be looked into urgently.
“We cannot take such matters lightly as these are serious risks that we are facing.
“All relevant authorities must work closely on this matter and make it a priority,” he added.
When asked if the current laws are sufficient to take action against encroachment, he said the laws are sufficient.
“Enforcement must be beefed up at such river reserves,” he added.
Tuan Ibrahim, in his speech earlier, said that the department has set in place short and long term flood mitigation plans.
He said the unpredictable weather and unusual flood patterns at the end of last year and beginning of the year, had cost damage and lost lives.
“To prevent such incidents from reoccurring, the government has started working on action and mitigation plans that are proactive and strategic,” he added.