CAMERON HIGHLANDS - The strengthening of the embankment at Ringlet River here has been completed, while work to widen and deepen Bertam river is to be completed by November next year, says Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.
He said the embankment work needed to be carried out to prevent mudslides from happening.
The work on the embankment came following the flash flood early last month which left five people dead and five injured.
A total of RM200,000 (S$75,686) had been allocated for the embankment work for Ringlet River, while RM31 million is set aside for Bertam river.
Palanivel said there was a need to protect both the areas, and he hoped those staying by the riverbanks, and the SJK(C) Bertam Chinese school located at Bertam river would be relocated.
Palanivel said he was aware that some of them staying there had strata titles, but their safety was more important.
"We can't allow for such disasters to occur again, where lives are at stake and properties are damaged.
"Tenaga Nasional Bhd is willing to allocate funds for the relocation of the school, which is about 1.5km downstream.
"The Government is also willing to compensate those living by the riverside. Therefore, it will be a wise decision for them to move for their own safety.
"It will be a major problem for us if they refuse to move," he said after visiting the Ringlet and Bertam rivers to check on the progress of the work.
Palanivel said it was fine for farming activities to be carried out within the valley, but said that extending agricultural activities by encroaching into the forest was unacceptable.
"Such activities should not venture further into the hills," he added.
Palanivel said Regional Environment Awareness Cameron Highlands (Reach) president R. Ramakrishnan had told him that a tiger was spotted at Brinchang recently.
"There is a need to protect the forest, wildlife and also the agriculture activities here," he added.