The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) urges the Kedah state government to conserve forests in the state in its efforts to resolve the water problem faced by Kedahans. Besides taking actions to stop logging and conversion of forest for plantations and large-scale agriculture projects, the Kedah state government must gazette all the forests in this state as Permanent Reserved Forest to protect them as water catchments.
Logging and forest encroachment have affected water sheds and cause serious soil erosion. In the meantime dams in the state are becoming shallower due to sedimentation and cannot hold as much water. CAP has also received many complaints that community water supply sourced from hills and streams has become polluted due to logging and sand mining activities.
At the same time, water from dams’ spills over and eventually flows into the sea. This situation has triggered frequent flash floods that damage people’s property and crops. CAP is disappointed that although the problem of water supply for daily needs and paddy cultivation in the state has been ongoing for more than ten years, yet until now no effective action has been taken by the relevant parties to resolve the problem.
Areas that are badly affected include Baling, Sik, Padang Terap, Pendang, Pokok Sena, Kuala Muda, Merbok, Kulim, Kubang Pasu and Lembaga Kemajuan Pertanian Muda (Muda Agriculture Development Authority - MADA) area. CAP’s survey found that annually more than 100,000 water consumers in the state face difficulty due to insufficient water supply for their daily use and for paddy cultivation.
This problem has not been dealt with satisfactorily but has worsened especially during the dry season. CAP is also dismayed that many villages close to dams such as in the districts of Padang Terap, Sik and Baling do not get proper water supply.
CAP urges the government to replace or repair old water pipes and irrigation systems to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of water supply to users. Stringent legal action must be taken on all those who are responsible for causing adverse effects to water sources and water supply in this state. Weakness in enforcing relevant laws is one of the reasons why Kedah’s water problem remains unsettled until now.
Media Statement, 12 July 2016
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is very concerned over the coastal erosion in a section of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) which is becoming critical.
The Penang State Government, the concessionaire of the BORR i.e. Lingkaran Lebuh Raya Butterworth (Penang) Sdn. Bhd. (LLB), the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) and other relevant agencies must investigate this matter immediately because the erosion is closing on to the outer ring road.
Oil patches scattered seen in the Penang waters - Pix by Sayuti Zainudin Malaymail
The recent major oil spill in Penang reported to have polluted a 5km coastline on the island stretching from Swettenham Pier to Gurney Drive is a major concern.In addition to this oil spill disaster, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the authorities to also investigate and take action on the oil spills that has been occurring in Penang waters in the recent months.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Forestry Department of Kedah and the Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) to pay serious attention and take immediate steps to protect and save the mangrove forest in the Kilim Geo Park in Langkawi Island from devastation.
The Kilim Geo Park covering an area of 100 square kilometres is a nature reserve with amazing flora and fauna including limestone, fossils, caves, lagoons, beaches and panoramic sea views.
However, a survey conducted by SAM found that the natural environment in this area, for example the mangroves, is being threatened by tourist boat activities and pollution problem due to littering.
The Consumers Association of Penang is deeply concerned that pedestrians are either side-lined in the government transportation plansor that they have been overlooked after the prioritisation of motorised vehicle use.
The situation has deteriorated over the last three decades since car ownership was encouraged with the advent of the first national car in 1985. Nationwide in 1975, 47 percent Malaysians used public transportation and 63,842 passenger cars were registered. However, by 2005 only 6 per cent Malaysians used public transport while 416,692 passenger cars were registered. The number of registered cars had increased by 6.5 times within two decades while number of bus users plummeted almost 8 times.
In Penang Island itself roads were widened to accommodate the increase and more than 12 pedestrian bridges were constructed. They are white elephants, each costing more than a million Ringgit to build.