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Illegal Agricultural Activities Damaging Federal Roads – Works Ministry

06/09/2022 02:31 PM

By Nurqalby Mohd Reda


KUALA LUMPUR,  (Bernama) – Illegal land use for agricultural purposes in highland areas has been identified as the main cause of damage to federal roads and slopes that come under the purview of the Ministry of Works (KKR).

The situation is endangering road users, particularly during heavy downpours when landslides or mud floods are likely to occur in such places.

One of the sections prone to landslides is the East-West Highway, notably in the Lojing area in Gua Musang, Kelantan.

A recent survey by the media, which accompanied KKR on the third edition of its East Zone FTRoadpedia Tour recently, found that illegal agricultural activities have encroached on the road reserve in the area concerned, causing rainwater to collect there. Landslides have occurred in the area and caused the road to be cut off.



The risks posed by illegal land use along federal roads were among the main issues KKR focused on during the FTRoadpedia Tour 3.0 from Aug 11-13. Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof was among the 38 top-ranking officials of KKR and its departments and agencies who participated in the programme.

Fadillah told reporters that as part of efforts to curb damage to its roads and slopes, his ministry will take firm action to put a stop to the illegal agricultural activities by carrying out integrated enforcement operations with the state government and other related agencies.  

He stressed that agricultural activities in highland areas must be managed properly, together with proper coordination, planning and integrated action especially if it involves the issue of land being acquired or used without approval.  

“(Encroaching on road reserves) will affect the existing infrastructure (roads), as well as expose the land acquired without following the proper procedures to various risks. What we are afraid of is the occurrence of critical events such as a mud flood as it can cut off the road,” he said.

When this happens, many parties will be affected including road users as well as farmers who will not be able to deliver their produce due to the road closure, he added.



The East Zone FTRoadpedia Tour 3.0, meanwhile, took the delegates on a 1,105-kilometre journey on federal roads from Kuala Lumpur to Pahang, Kelantan and Perak where they also stopped to visit some interesting locations that federal road users can consider visiting as well.

The minister said continuous efforts must be made to encourage people to use federal roads more often as the government does not want its infrastructure to be underutilised.

“We want to increase traffic flow on the road network concerned so that people don’t just view them (federal roads) as alternative routes to avoid congestion during the festive season,” he said, adding that driving on the federal roads can be a beneficial experience.

“The road users can get beautiful views of forests and green hills… and there are also many recreational and tourist spots nearby. In fact, they can even choose to spend a night in one of these places. For example, the old road from Bentong to Raub (FT218 in Section 24.80) in Pahang and the main road from Raub to Fraser’s Hill are dotted with tourist spots,” he said.

Pointing to Jalan Simpang Pulai-Blue Valley in Kinta district, Perak, he said the federal road users can visit Cameron Highlands in Pahang which is known for its scenic views, tea plantations and strawberries.

The Malaysian federal road system is the nation’s main national road network. According to the Ministerial Functions Act 1969, KKR is responsible for planning, building and maintaining all federal roads – totalling 17,830 kilometres in length, including in Sabah and Sarawak – under the Federal Roads Act 1959.

However, following the development of highways nationwide since the 1970s, there has been a marked decrease in traffic flow on federal roads.




By promoting the use of federal roads, KKR also hopes to boost the economy of the local communities concerned.

“Usually during the festive season, road users tend to choose federal roads. They may (for instance) go from Kuala Lumpur to Raub by using the Bentong-Raub road to avoid traffic congestion.

“Those using the old road will stop at one of the shops in Bentong to eat or get something. Many local residents have also set up stalls along the road (Bentong-Raub) to sell their agricultural produce,” he said.

The FTRoadpedia Tour participants also visited the new Bailey bridge on the Bentong-Raub route. This bridge, a temporary crossing, was put up after the existing bridge collapsed on Feb 22 during a heavy downpour.

Work on the Bailey bridge started on Feb 24 and the structure was completed three days later. An application for the construction of a permanent bridge, costing an estimated RM10 million, has been made under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

Wan Amir Hamzah Wan Ishak, 45, the headman of Tras mukim in Raub, said the residents there are grateful for the speedy completion of the temporary bridge, which has a capacity of 30 tonnes, as it offers them a shortcut to Raub town.

“There are eight Orang Asli, two Malay and three Chinese villages in this area and by using the bridge, it takes the villagers just 15 minutes to get to Raub to buy essentials or sell their produce. If the bridge wasn’t there, it would take us one hour to reach the town,” he said.


Translated by Rema Nambiar








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