Pada 28 Februari 1970, Sultan Pahang DYMM Sultan Abu Bakar Ri’ayatuddin Al Mu’adzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdullah Al Mu’tasim Billah Shah telah merasmikan pembukaan Jambatan Sultan Abu Bakar di Pekan, Pahang. Jambatan yang merentangi Sungai Pahang ini dinamakan sempena nama baginda sendiri . Jambatan sepanjang 600 meter ini, menghubungkan Peramu atau dikenali juga sebagai Pekan Seberang dengan Kampung Mengkasar, yang terletak berhampiran dengan bandar Pekan.
On 28th August, I posted the above article about the business of mining for sand in Pahang.
The permit to mine sand in Pahang is held by Perbadanan Pasir Pahang Berhad (PPPB). This is a Joint Venture Company with the following equity partners:
The sand is exported to India, China, and Hong Kong using the Approved Permit granted by the Federal Government to the Sultan of Pahang. This is a cozy “business venture/arrangement” that makes money for the Pahang Royals, the Chinese partners, and of course, the politicians in the State whose “support” pushed the proposal through. Tribute is paid to the State and to the Pahang Royals for the mining of the sand though I am told that while the Royals are being paid their dues, the State is still waiting for payments of their dues amounting to over RM5 million ringgit. That would be for another day for me to elaborate on.
The mining of sand has, among other things, affected the livelihoods of villagers in the area where the sand is being mined because sediments and waste are depleting the reserve of exotic fishes and Udang Galah but these problems are inconsequential to the Royals, the Miners, and the state government. For reasons best known to themselves, the relevant state authorities turn a blind eye to environmental concerns caused by the mining.
With “Royal Protection” these miners are getting bolder. Now they are mining for sand a few hundred meters away from the Jambatan Sultan Abu Bakar near Pekan.
Annual flooding and the excavation of river sand just a few hundred meters from the Sultan Abu Bakar Bridge leads to considerable changes in river beds and poses a threat to the safe operation of the bridge because it can lead to the exposure of the bridge foundation. When foundations are scoured, it exerts negative influences on the stresses of pier foundations and girders, reducing bearing capacity thereby threatening the safety of structures and can even lead to the bridge collapsing.
Is the Director-General of Jabatan Pengairan dan Saliran Negeri Pahang aware that Jabatan Laut has allowed this 3 in 1 Dredge to be used in this river? And JKR is silent on the operations of this 3 in 1 Dredge so close to Jambatan Sultan Abu Bakar! Have bribes been paid to the authorities so that they will look the other way?
When will common sense prevail?
If the Menteri Besar does not have any concern for the safety of those using the Jambatan Sultan Abu Bakar, then will the Pahang Royals take action to ensure that a monument built to preserve the legacy of one of Pahang beloved Royal, Sultan Sir Abu Bakar, is not endangered by the rampant mining of sand just a few hundred meters from that bridge? Or is the pursuit of the almighty ringgit by the Pahang Royal reason enough for the Sultan to close one eye and shut the other at what all the mining is doing to endanger his own rakyat and the legacy of his grandfather, Sultan Sir Abu Bakar?