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S’gor to tap S’pore expertise for river project

PETALING JAYA. 19 May 2009: Selangor government plans to tap into Singapore’s expertise in its Klang River Rehabiliation Project and would also consult non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on environment issues related to the project.

Selangor menteri besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim had expressed his hopes to work with Singapore on the RM10bil project during his meeting with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the island republic yesterday.

“The MB also met with Singapore’s Public Utilities Board officials who shared their experience in river and water management,” Abdul Khalid’s press secretary Arfa’eza A Aziz told The Nut Graph today.

Arfa’eza said the board has all the essential experience in cleaning, rehabilitating and developing rivers, having successfully carried out projects for the Singapore River and the Kallang Basin from 1977 to 1987.

“The state of their rivers then was very similar to the current state of our 120km Klang River. Now their rivers are not only clean, the development along them is quite impressive,” Arfa’eza said.

She added that Singapore also had experience in dealing with and relocating the squatters, backyard farms and factories that have settled on the river banks.

“Companies from Hong Kong, China, and South Korea have also approached us, but we believe Singapore could provide us with the best guidance on the project,” said Arfa’eza.

Arfa’eza said companies conducting the Klang River Rehabilitation Project will provide the RM10bil cost, not the state government as it is a private finance initiative project.

Meanwhile, the Selangor government plans to announce its project management team for the river clean-up next month.

“Although the NGOs will not be in the project management team, we will consult them to address the environment issues related to the project,” said  Arfa’eza.

She said the Selangor government is looking at engaging NGOs concerned with sustainable development such as Friends of Kota Damansara.

Initiated by the Selangor government, the Klang River Rehabilitation Project is expected to attract around RM50billion worth of investments and create more than 15,000 job opportunities.

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