Saturday, May 24, 2008

Friday May 23, 2008

Sungai Pahang rediscovery

Story and pictures by NIK NAIZI HUSIN

TRAVELLING 329km along Sungai Pahang from Kuala Lipis to Pekan on rafts is a tiring journey, but it can be done if one has a keen interest and a die-hard spirit.

Such an attitude was displayed when 492 rafters comprising students, members of non-governmental organisations, government agencies and local residents took up the challenge on board 82 bamboo rafts.

Picturesque: Rafters going under the East Coast Highway bridge in Sanggang, Temerloh.

They depended on wooden paddles to row down the river at less than 10km per hour.

In spite of heavy rain and the hot sun, they arrived safely at the royal town of Pekan after a seven-day journey.

The rafters in the 8th Pahang International Rafting Expedition spent the nights at villages on the riverbank and thoroughly enjoyed the expedition.

The event was held in conjunction with the annual National Water Festival.

Starting early: Participants getting ready to start their fourth day after stopping at Kampung Pulau Pasir Mandi in Temerloh.

Its success was due to the cooperation of all the parties involved including Bukit Fraser Development Corporation, Tourism Malaysia Pahang, Pahang Tourism Action Council, Tioman Development Authority, Pahang Arts, Culture and Heritage Department, the police, armed forces, territorial army, Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Department, villagers and district offices.

The rafters passed through six districts and made stops in Kampung Jeram Landak (Lipis), Kampung Pulau Tawar (Jerantut), Kampung Pulau Pasir Mandi (Temerloh), Kampung Guai (Bera), Kampung Pesagi (Maran), Kampung Mambang and Kampung Ganchong (Pekan).

During the stops, they learnt about local food, culture and dialects, and made friends.

During their stop in Guai on the fifth day, they were greeted by Pahang Regent Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and his wife Tengku Puan Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Anti-Corruption Agency director-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan.

Not easy: Rafters having trouble while approaching a bridge in Kampung Mela, Kuala Lipis, after failing to control their raft due to the strong currents. They finally crashed into other rafts.

During their previous stops in Kampung Jeram Landak, they were received by Lipis Umno division chief Datuk Mohd Soffi Tan Sri Abdul Razak, who is also a state executive councillor.

On the final day in Pekan, they were welcomed by Tengku Abdullah, who presented prizes and officially closed the expedition.

In his speech, Tengku Abdullah said the expedition was an educational trip.

“Pahang has many things to offer in tourism. It is up to the individual to benefit from its unique flora, fauna and local culture.

“Sungai Pahang is a major source of energy for the people and other living things. It is important that the river be preserved and its cleanliness maintained for the water to be safe for consumption.

“The expedition can be regarded as an eye-opener on environmental awareness for all of us,” he said.

In Guai, before flagging off the participants, Tengku Abdullah said, because of the expedition, the Government had uncovered many problems faced by villagers, including the lack of basic amenities and electricity.

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