PUTRAJAYA, Jan 27 – Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government will thoroughly relook the local plan for Cameron Highlands to ensure the highlands’ sustainability is not affected in the long run. He said the Urban and Rural Planning Department would undertake the task, which is expected to ready within six months.
“It will take into account follow-up actions that can be taken by the government to improve, conserve and beautify Cameron Highlands and surrounding areas while enforcement will still be carried out. “I have heard the reports and we believe with continuous action, only then we can ensure Cameron Highlands will revert to its pristine stage within a short period,” he told a media conference after chairing the Flash Floods and Landslide Disaster special meeting in Cameron Highlands, here on Monday.
Muhyiddin said the government also provided RM40 million to the Drainage and Irrigation department to fix Sungai Bertam as part of flood mitigation efforts, which had already started. The government has also obtained feedback from parents and local residents on the relocation of a Chinese school in Cameron Highlands to a new venue with the cost to be borne by Tenaga Nasional Berhad.
He also urged non-governmental organisations to carry out more awareness campaigns such as tree-planting and discourage rubbish littering by engaging the locals to maintain Cameron Highlands. Meanwhile Muhyiddin said the Pahang state government would consider providing temporary operating licence (TOL) to illegal settlers for certain reasons so that agricultural activities in Cameron Highlands could be sustained.
He said the Pahang government would use discretion to hand out the TOL to eligible vegetable and fruits farmers to continue their activities if they did not contravene the regulations, including environment. “The state government will inform the National Security Council where these areas are, who they are and how many licences have been issued. “This matter will be considered within one month, that is by the end of February.
Those eligible will be issued TOL while for the rest, demolition and destruction of the crops will be undertaken,” he said. He said an area of 176.98 hectares out of 2,258.14 hectares that were demolished in Cameron Highlands had been cleaned up based on remote sensing and data from the Land Office. Meanwhile Muhyiddin said enforcement action on illegal immigrants in Cameron Highlands would be continued. So far, he said the Immigration Department and police had arrested 800 illegals.