KUALA LUMPUR – The continuous land clearing activities in Cameron Highlands will probably cause the area to face bigger floods and landslides in the future, according to geology expert.
Lecturer in Geology of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Assoc Prof Dr Tajul Anuar Jamaluddin said the greediness of settlers in clearing hilly areas to be turned into new vegetable farms would also cause soil degradation that could lead to landslides.
“During heavy rains, the soil in the cleared hilly areas can erode and the existing dam is no longer capable of containing large quantity of water, and this situation will cause major floods,” he told Bernama in response to the muddy floods in Cameron Highlands last Wednesday.
He said the soil in Cameron Highlands was no longer suitable for agricultural activities after the highland fell victim to uncontrolled land clearing activity.
“They (settlers) cleared the land to open new vegetable farms because the existing land is no longer fertile due to the excessive use of chemical fertilisers.
“This was done for profit, without even taking into consideration the risks of muddy floods and landslides that await the villagers,” he said.
As such, Tajul Anuar called on the settlers to optimise the use of existing land by using organic fertilisers and good bacteria technology to re-fertilise the land.
He also called on the authority to take immediate action to stop land clearing activity and to close all illegal agriculture areas, which were mostly developed by foreign settlers.
“Cameron Highlands is a national tourism icon noted for its beautiful landscape and cool weather. If the authorities do not do something about the land clearing activity, Cameron Highlands will slowly lose its visitors and eventually, its identity,” he said.
In the 6.30 pm last Wednesday, five people were killed, while five others were injured after their villages were hit by major floods when the water at the Sultan Abu Bakar Dam had to be released in stages following heavy downpours.
A total of 203 villagers from 47 families were also evacuated to relief centre. – Bernama