New policy, approach needed in management of river basins

Sultan Nazrin Shah

KUALA LUMPUR – The Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah today expressed the need for new policies and approaches that take into account all the weaknesses in river basin management to be drawn up immediately to address issues related to the sustainability of rivers.

Apart from learning from other countries that have succeeded in preserving their rivers, he said, a fresh, organised and more viable framework is needed as many people are still not aware of the need to preserve rivers despite various policies and programmes having been introduced.


“River preservation means a framework for repairing and improving the quality of river water so that it is always clean and usable. River preservation is the responsibility of all parties, not a responsibility limited or specific to an agency or a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

“The responsibility of preserving the river needs to be highlighted in the form of environmentally friendly living practices and a proactive attitude to contribute or be willing to pay the necessary costs,” said the Sultan when launching a book, “Tafsir Mawdu’i Sungai: Perspektif Islam Tentang Alam Sekitar”, here today.

Sultan Nazrin said river preservation is cultural and geopolitical in nature and cannot be dealt with simply using the old framework that is rigid and segmented.

He said a more humane approach needed to be taken to increase public awareness and willingness to preserve the environment.

“The society needs to realise that humans and the environment are closely related. If language symbolises the nation, the health level of the river ecosystem reflects the ‘heart’ of the local community. The beautiful flow of the river is closely related to the beautiful flow in the human heart.

“The hardware approach, which is science and technology, and the software, which is policies, laws and norms is incomplete without the ‘heart-ware’ which is the heart, soul or humanity.

“The human soul needs to be whispered with awareness, the realisation that it is sinful to do acts that pollute the environment,” said the Sultan.

Based on the Environmental Quality Report 2021 of 670 rivers monitored in Malaysia, 489 of the rivers, or 73 per cent, showed a clean water quality index, 24 per cent (158 rivers) were moderately polluted and three per cent (23 rivers) were polluted.

The book “Tafsir Mawdu’i Sungai: Perspektif Islam Tentang Alam Sekitar” is co-authored by Prof Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohd Yusoff, an expert in the study of the Quran and the Sunnah, and Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang, who is a professional environmental engineer.

The book is published by Akademi Jawi Malaysia. – Bernama