Malaysia needs a river commission

IPOH: The Perak state government will propose to the Federal Government to form a river commission in order to monitor and protect rivers in the country.

State Education, Technology, Science and Environmental committee chairman Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said this was crucial as the commission would also be a platform to exchange ideas with other countries at the international level in a bid to preserve these rivers.

“We should look at countries like the United Kingdom and how they manage their water resources, water wastes and rivers which is handled by a central agency. For me, this is a brilliant move,” he said.

Abdul Aziz added that in order to form the river commission, workshops and various consultations have to be done with all quarters including related agencies, experts and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to obtain more details for the idea.

“By having this commission, it will also help improve the water quality of certain rivers. We can’t solely leave this matter to the Drainage and Irrigation Department (JPS) and the Environmental Department (JAS).

“We do not want our rivers and its tributaries to vanish so our future generations can enjoy our natural resources,” Abdul Aziz said at a press conference after opening the Upper Kinta Basin (UKB) Integrated River Basin Management workshop at the Kinta Riverfront Hotel, here, today.

The workshop is organised by Global Environment Centre (GEC) and the Hasanah Foundation.

Also present were state JPS assistant director Salfarina Mohd Sharif and River Care Programme coordinator Dr K. Kalithasan.

“We only have SPAN (National Water Services Commission) which was formed about 10 years ago where at that time, there were debates on SPAN’s existence since water is a state matter. But by having SPAN, water management and environmental matters are being handled fairly and democratically,” he said.

Abdul Aziz said the idea would be forwarded to the national level should there be a meeting with the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) as well as other agencies.

“The problem that we have now, even though the environment basically belongs to the state, but the states do not have the capacity and they don’t have the funding. This is where the Federal Government and the state governments must come together.

“Apart from that, we need experts from NGOs and international agencies to sit down together so that we can share their experiences,” he said.

Source: NST