Like River Thames, Sungai Seduan can be a tourist attraction

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SIBU: With its beautiful scenery, Sungai Seduan can be developed into a tourist attraction just like River Thames in Cambridge, United Kingdom, said Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Dr Annuar Rapaee.

He pointed this out at the virtual launching of Sibu-level World Rivers Day on Sunday.

“River Thames is a small waterway that is fully maintained by its government by creating many attractions. We can also make Sungai Seduan like that.

“If it is used as a tourist spot and well maintained, of course it will be able to generate income for the residents of Rumah Sebastian Ngalang, Rumah Eddy Jemat and Rumah Bungkong along the river.

“They (residents) can provide boat services for the visitors to paddle along Sungai Seduan, just like in Cambridge,” he said.

Elaborating further, Dr Annuar, who is also Nangka assemblyman, said the relevant authorities could request for an allocation from the government for the purpose.

During the event, he also reminded the community to protect the rivers in the country.

“About 40 to 45 years ago, I could see ikan seluang and ikan buris in Sungai Igan but today, they are quite difficult to find due to changes in the water quality and fish population.

“This clearly shows that we have failed to protect our rivers and we need to rectify the situation.

“It will not be easy to restore the environment in the next five to 10 years because there are factors involved and a lot of research is needed.

“The river is not a garbage dump. It is a source of livelihood for some people and a source of water.

“The recurring ‘apat’ phenomenon in Sungai Baleh and Batang Rajang last month has affected water supply in Sibu.

“We don’t want this to happen again and therefore, it is our shared responsibility to take care of the rivers,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Sibu Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) divisional engineer Rudi Abang Zamhari said the department needed continuous and consistent yearly allocations as river cleaning works must be carried out more frequently to prevent flooding and for safe river navigation.

He said the Sibu DID had just received an RM80,000 allocation under the federal river maintenance programme for river cleaning projects.

“This amount is greatly reduced compared to the RM800,000 received last year.

“Many river-cleaning projects could not be carried out this year and had to be postponed due to the reduction in allocation.

“Rumah Sebastian Ngalang is one of the longhouses located at the upper part of Sungai Seduan. Some residents are still depending on the river to get to their farms and for fishing although the longhouse connected by road to Sibu town and other places.

“However, floating plants such as water hyacinths and grass can clog the waterway and this can cause difficulties and pose danger to boats,” he explained.

The Sibu DID carried out cleaning works along 3,300 metres of Sungai Seduan, from Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce bridge up to Rumah Sebastian Ngalang, in April this year.

Another 4,324 metres of the river will be cleared once the department receives an allocation from the federal government.

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