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Cameron Highlands Mud Flood Blamed On Residents Apathy

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KUANTAN – The mud flood that hit the Bertam Valley and Ringlet in Cameron Highlands late yesterday evening claiming four lives so far should make the people realise the importance of forest conservation and respect for the environment, said Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

He said that though the state government had taken various measures to prevent a recurrence of the mud flood after the incident last year, it was sad that there had been another calamity.

“All the relevant parties – TNB (Tenaga Nasional Berhad), the district office and the police – were prepared to face the flood and they had performed their tasks well.

“The state government will try to help in every possible way, including giving financial assistance and evacuating victims, in lessening the people’s burden.

“However, for the long term, there is nothing much that can be done now as most of the areas have been taken up by settlers with haphazard development and the forest stripped bare,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after accompanying the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah, and the Sultanah, Hajah Kalsom, to the 1436 Maal Hijrah celebration at the Silver Jubilee Hall here today.

Also present were Pahang Mufti Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Osman, State Secretary Datuk Seri Muhammad Safian Ismail and state executive councillors.

Adnan was asked to comment on the mud flood and landslide in Ringlet, Cameron Highlands, which occurred late yesterday afternoon, resulting in three people killed and more than 100 residents evacuated.

Last year, the Ringlet Lake in the Bertam Valley overflowed due to continuous rain, causing a mud flood that claimed four lives and damaged more than 100 homes.

Asked whether an increase in settlements in the Bertam Valley had contributed to the mud flood yesterday, Adnan said the residents were too attached to their homes and had refused to move elsewhere.

“We tried to relocate Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Bertam Valley but they refused.

“There is nothing much we can do except to advise them to move their family and children immediately to the higher floors of the school whenever floods occur,” he said.

At the event, well-known Islamic preacher Datuk Kamaruddin Zakaria was conferred the ‘Tokoh Maal Hijrah’ award which included a prize of RM10,000 in cash, a traditional Malay attire and a certificate of appreciation. – Bernama

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