May 25, 2012
FMT LETTER: From NK Khoo, via e-mail
The Melaka river beautification Phases one and two projects seem to have been bulldozed through without any public consultation to gather feedback and expert opinions on how to optimise taxpayers’ money and assess the impact on the environment.
For instance, the trees along the riverbank are being cut down indiscriminately for Phase two of the project by the contractors.
Singapore realised that its river beautification with concrete walls was not suitable for its native habitat. It has learned a bitter lesson and tried to restore the ecological environment by recreating and re-introducing a natural environment in the river several years on.
Why is Melaka and the Malaysia government repeating a similar mistake without learning from those made by others?
They should have cleaned up and deepen the Melaka river to maintain its natural setting and allow native habitats to flourish. It is not a rocket science.
Besides, by planting the right mix of plants on the riverbank, it could function as a cost efficient natural filtration system in the river.
This is a cheaper and a viable greener solution rather than build another multi-million ringgit sewage plant. The natural settings will attract monitor lizards, mud skippers, crabs, fishes and birds back to Melaka River as in 90s, free from its odorous and stinky past.
I believe most tourists prefer to cruise in a river filled with livable habitat than seeing concrete walls as found in Phase one of Melaka River beautification project.