Curb causes leading to overflow of the Perak River

Sand mining in the Perak River.
Collapsed river bank in Bota, Perak.

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) urges the Perak government to take immediate action to resolve the causes that led to the overflow of the Perak River and flash floods that often hit several villages near the river.

Although the problem is longstanding until now no effective action has been taken to resolve it. Hence the problem has recurred whereby lives of villagers from 10 villages in Kampung Gajah and Bota have been affected. Amongst the affected villages are Kampung Bakong, Kampung Teluk Bakong, Kampung Empai, Kampung Baru, Kampung Pasir Garam, Kampung Pasir Kubu and Kampung Alor Kuat.

CAP’s survey found that the Perak River has become shallow and wider due to erosion of the riverbank. It is not only caused by plantation activities and forest clearing but also due to uncontrolled sand mining activities.

Many agricultural land belonging to villagers who live near the river have been eroded and collapsed. In addition to destruction of crops, the villagers’ houses are also precariously exposed because the eroded river bank is moving closer to their houses.

CAP has appealed to the the Land and Mines Office (PTG), Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) and Perak Forestry Department to continuously monitor the situation here so that the cause of the erosion can be effectively controlled.

Stringent enforcement of laws is needed, not only on the sand miners but also the logging companies and project developers that fail to comply with the regulations stipulated under the relevant laws.

CAP objects Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir’s proposal to establish a one-stop centre to monitor the flow of the Perak River and activities surrounding the river because it will affect the enforcement powers of the related departments. What is clear now is weakness in monitoring and enforcement of existing law and regulations by departments and agencies. In the meantime Sungai Perak continues to be threatened.

Press statement, 17 Sept 2015