by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / pic by TMR FILE
THE Environment and Water Ministry’s (Kasa) implementation of the 10,000km River Trail must be implemented fairly, said Bukit Gasing Assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran (picture).
He said out of the total 10,000km of river trails in the works by Kasa, only 7.55km has been awarded to be built in Selangor in the last two years.
“This is a pittance in comparison to their annual target of 1,000km,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He said the river trails are much needed and valued in Selangor, especially in the Klang Valley, due to its ability to serve as a recreation for a dense population of over eight million people.
“People should be able to enjoy walking, jogging and cycling along our rivers, and what better ‘bang for the buck’ than to build these river trails in Selangor where millions can enjoy it.
“In Bukit Gasing, we have Sungai Penchala and our local community will benefit greatly from these river trails,” he added.
Rajiv’s second argument for the river trails is that they would address the rampant illegal rubbish dumping on riverbanks.
“Riverbanks that are filled with shrubs and overgrowth make it easier for unscrupulous individuals to dump illegal commercial and industrial waste,” he said, adding that the third benefit would be to prevent individuals from illegally occupying the land for businesses like scrap metal and storage of contraband.
Rajiv said the highest population centre of the country should not be denied its fair share of river routes and the federal government must plan projects objectively without political motivations, while delivering services and initiatives to the people.
“The ministry has to keep in mind that the residents of Selangor are citizens of this country and are very much a part of this ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ that the government is trying to portray.
“The unfair treatment given to Selangor needs to end,” he added.
Kasa’s National Trail Programme involves a total of 10,000km of trails to be built on selected riverbanks in the country by 2030, at a rate of 1,000km per year.
These trails will be built on riverbanks, which comprise the land reserve next to the river that cannot be privately owned.
“The 10,000km of river trails is definitely a good move for the country. It needs to be implemented, but it must be implemented fairly,” Rajiv said.