The long-term goal is to return the Klang River to its status of being a key transportation and economic hub
by AFIQ AZIZ/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE ONCE most polluted river in the country — the Klang River — is set to offer a refreshed ambience to the public by March next year, after the completion of two initiatives that are part of the waterway’s rejuvenation plan.
Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari (picture) said the development of the first two processes, the first phase of an eight-step initiative also known as Selangor Maritime Gateway (SMG), is already underway.
The two catalyst projects, which are the upgrading works of the entire Taman Awam Pangkalan Batu as an interactive destination park and the playground at Taman Rekreasi Mangrove Point, utilise a RM45 million fund that was provided by the state since early this year.
“The Taman Rekreasi Mangrove Point will become the first mangrove forest in Malaysia that promotes a biophilic environment.
“Concurrently, a river taxi system is also being set up, which will initially ply a 15km stretch along the Klang River, thus connecting the two locations,” he said after the grand launch of the “SMG Gateway To A Better Tomorrow” in Shah Alam, Selangor yesterday.
“The long-term goal is to return the Klang River to its status of being a key transportation and economic hub,” he added.
The project is spearheaded by Landasan Lumayan Sdn Bhd (LLSB), the state’s wholly owned subsidiary that has been mandated to work on the SMG.
Also present at the launch were LLSB chairman and Menteri Besar Selangor Inc (MBI) CEO Raja Shahreen Raja Othman and LLSB MD Syaiful Azmen Nordin.
MBI has committed RM45 million facilitation funds for the initial river cleaning exercise and the catalyst projects for Phase 1 of SMG that would be utilised between 2018 and 2022.
In the last four years, LLSB has installed seven log booms and collected some 50,000 tonnes of debris along the Klang River.
As a result, the waterway’s Water Quality Index has much improved from Class 5 (contaminated) to Class 3 which is moderately good and even Class 2B that is deemed suitable for recreation in some areas.
SMG covers the cleaning and rehabilitation of 56km of Klang River within Selangor from Mid Valley to the river mouth in Port Klang.
Additionally, Amirudin said the SMG project has started to attract international attention, with its collaboration with The Ocean Cleanup — a non-profit Dutch organisation that develops advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans and rivers of plastic.
“The Ocean Cleanup approached the state in April this year before we agreed to deploy their interceptor into the Klang River since August. It will be there for a year, without any cost incurred. This complements the existing log booms which have been installed to further clean up the river, especially in the rainy seasons that would cause waste to overpass the log boom,” he said.
The interceptor system, which is powered by solar energy, has low maintenance requirements and is able to operate semi-autonomously 24 hours a day even in extreme conditions.
Amiruddin also believed that the Klang River could be turned into a future source of drinkable water, a project that could be initiated with the right technology partners.
“Selangor has very high per capita water consumption at 234 litres and we need to consider alternative options,” he added.
He said the project could further spur the tourism sector along the riverbanks, backed by the arrival of cruise ships calling at Port Klang.
“These tourist destinations are close enough to Port Klang, especially for ships that are here for shorter stays, and I ask the port authorities, Tourism Selangor and cruise terminal operators to promote these places in 2020 together with the river taxi service that is being set up,” he added.
SMG’s river taxi service is expected to connect Port Klang to Bandar Klang although it will initially focus on three jetties in Pangkalan Batu, Fishermen’s Jetty in Kampung Sungai Sireh and Mangrove Point. To operate this service, LLSB has inked a partnership with Persatuan Nelayan Pelabuhan Klang.
The agreement would pave the way in enhancing the socio-economic wellbeing of the Klang River fishermen communities, including new income opportunities.
Meanwhile, Syaiful Azmen said LLSB is also evaluating various options to develop a retail and cultural enclave along the riverbanks and rehabilitate the defunct Telok Kapas landfill in Klang to render it suitable for future possibilities.
All these projects are also earmarked for completion by 2022.
“These final appointments, which we will announce soon, will complete the projected deliverables under SMG Phase 1,” Syaiful Azmen said.