KUANTAN: Enforcement conducted by the Pahang government to curb illegal encroachment into the Kuala Terla water catchment area in Cameron Highlands was done in compliance with the law.
State Secretary Datuk Seri Dr Sallehuddin Ishak said action was taken to ensure environmental sustainability and safeguard the people’s interests.
He said the demolition of illegal farms in Sungai Ichat was halted when the settlers obtained an interim injunction order dated March 11, 2019 from the Kuantan High Court.
“However, the plaintiffs had withdrawn their suit on Sept 30, 2019.
“Their move allowed the state government to continue enforcement to rehabilitate the area,” he said in a statement here today.
Sallehuddin said the Kuala Terla Water Treatment Plant was the most important and largest plant providing more than 70 per cent of Cameron Highlands’ water supply (involving 8,332 accounts).
“The plant had a design flow capacity of raw water amounting to 855m3/hr but currently the plant is only capable of producing 580m3/hr, or sometimes less.
“The raw water can no longer meet current needs and future development of Cameron Highlands... raw water supply from Sungai Ichat is much required.”
Salllehuddin said, based on monitoring by Pengurusan Air Pahang Bhd (PAIP), Sungai Ichat’s water quality had began to recover following enforcement action along with clean up work conducted almost every week by PAIP.
“Based on the current situation, PAIP plans to divert the water flow along Sungai Ichat to merge with Sungai Terla starting in the second quarter of 2020 as based on the original design of the construction of the Kuala Terla plant.
“The move is expected to increase and stabilise the raw water flow to be utilised at the Kuala Terla water treatment plant,” he said.
On Dec 21, Pahang MIC Youth had come out against the decision of the state government to instruct 60 farmers in Kuala Terla to vacate their farms without offering any alternative solutions.
It was reported that farming was the only source of income for the 60 families who had been working on the land for three generations.
During a visit on Sept 7, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had called for an immediate stop to illegal encroachment into the Kuala Terla water catchment area, especially near the intake point of the Sungai Ichat dam in the Ulu Ternom sub-district.
During its executive council meeting on Match 13, the state government had gazetted the 121ha Sungai Ichat Reserve.