PETALING JAYA: The Selangor Maritime Gateway (SMG) initiative carried out by Landasan Lumayan Sdn Bhd (LLSB) is in line with the Selangor government’s objective to rehabilitate a dying river while bringing new economic value to it, the communities living in its vicinity such as fishermen and the state.

LLSB, which competed against more than 500 other nominations from around the world, recently won the Gold Award for Sustainability in Government at the prestigious Green World Awards 2023 for its efforts to improve the Klang River, make it viable for new economic opportunities and sustain the social well-being of communities around it.

LLSB managing director Syaiful Azmen Nordin said: “For decades, neglect and industrialisation have resulted in the river becoming heavily polluted with plastics and other debris, leading to the death of fish and the loss of crocodiles, birds and other animals that depended on its ecosystem.

“According to the Impact of Floods 2021 special report by the Statistics Department, the Petaling and Klang districts recorded the highest economic loss, at RM1.1 billion and RM1.2 billion respectively. Based on our technical study, the main cause of floods in the Klang Valley was the inability of the Klang River to handle incoming water discharged from the surrounding area.

“Therefore, our initiative is crucial to improving the water quality and mitigating the negative impact on biodiversity as it can become a future source of income for the state and its people. By resurrecting the river, we are ensuring continued economic growth and conserving biodiversity and water security.”

Syaiful Azmen also said the SMG initiative aims to establish the Klang River as a key economic generator for Selangor and its people.

“The initiative is to rejuvenate the last 56km of the river and sustainably transform 27,960ha of the surrounding land. The objective of this initiative was further crystalised last year when the Selangor government approved the establishment of the SMG Economic Development Zone (ZPE SMG),” he said, adding that some RM45 million has been spent on the initiative.

“The cost comprises the removal of floating waste along the 56km from Petaling Jaya to Klang, installation of waste traps, log booms, water quality monitoring sensors and construction of two catalyst projects, namely the Taman Awam Pangkalan Batu and the 28.3ha Mangrove Point.”

Syaiful Azmen said 11 state agencies and four main local authorities – Majlis Perbandaran Klang, Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam, Majlis Bandaraya Subang Jaya and Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya – collaborated on the initiative.

He added that the SMG initiative is a long-term project designed under three phases from 2016 to 2031.

“Phase One, from 2016 to last year, transformed and revived the Klang River through waste management and catalyst initiatives that included river cleaning, rehabilitation, development and connectivity.

“Phase Two from last year to 2031 (focuses on) growth for the SMG project so that it transforms into a new economic generator and a game-changer for Selangor with regards to the sustainability of riverine and maritime development.

“Phase Three will kick off after 2031. It will accomplish the aim of all plans under the ZPE-SMG projects for the Klang River to become a key income generator for Selangor and leverage it as a key platform with environmental, social and governance principles.”

Syaiful Azmen added that the end goal of the initiative is to generate a new economy that would spur job opportunities for society.

“For the fishing communities there, it opens new income opportunities such as “River Educational Trips”, where river taxis would be operated by local fishermen. As more eco-tourism attractions along the river, such as the Mangrove Park open, demand for river taxis as a transportation mode to visit the locations would increase.

“It also raises the pride of people along the river as less rubbish means fewer waterborne health issues. The initiative has also brought together more people, especially youths, to be part of a river stewardship movement through voluntarism. We continue to see high interest in people wanting to visit and learn about the Klang River and its rejuvenation works.”

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