Mudslide-hit highway reopened

BENTONG: It's all systems go for traffic at the affected stretch of the Karak Highway which was closed for four days following a mudslide.

The stretch at KM52.4 of the lane heading to Kuala Lumpur was reopened at around 1pm yesterday.

"On Saturday, one lane in each direction was opened to traffic while work continued on the remaining debris," said Bentong OCPD Supt Mansor Mohd Nor.

He added that the clean-up was completed at 1pm yesterday.

"The affected stretch is now fully operational," said Supt Mansor.

The mudslide at the Lentang-Bukit Tinggi area on Wednesday buried at least four vehicles.

It also caused traffic from Kuantan to be diverted out at the Bentong exit while that from Kuala Lumpur was directed into the Genting Sempah exit.

During a visit to the site, Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia president Datuk Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil claimed that the rivers in the area were all muddy.

She said although there was no logging activity now, this did not mean that it had not caused the mudslide.

"There could have been logging in the area several months ago and only now are the consequences showing.

"Even the rivers in the area are all muddy. This is a clear sign of illegal forest clearing," she told reporters.

She stressed that more awareness needed to be raised on the effects of illegal logging and forest clearing.

"Who is going to step up in order to save our natural wonders? We need to start now before it is too late," she said.

Shariffa Sabrina said the love for nature needed to be inculcated in children from a young age.

"We are aware that logging and land clearing is occurring in Janda Baik, Genting Highlands and here in Lentang.

"Do we want another situation like the severe landslides that occurred in Cameron Highlands?" she said.

Shariffa Sabrina also urged the authorities to take action immediately before disaster strikes again.