The Sultan of Kedah, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’Adzam Shah urges the people to ensure any development project and socio­economic activities being planned will not damage the environment, following the flood disaster in states on the East Coast.

“Avoid levelling of hills, illegal logging, open burning and uncontrolled dumping of garbage,” he said at the investiture ceremony on his 87th birthday at Istana Anak Bukit, here, today.

His speech was read by the Regency Council chairman Tan Sri Tunku Sallehudin Ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah. The Sultan hoped flood mitigation works planned by the state government and approved by the federal government could be implemented quickly.

“The people staying in areas close to rivers must accept the offer of the federal government to relocate to higher areas to simultaneously pave the way for the flood mitigation works, to protect lives and property,” he said.

Kedah was inundated by a big flood in 2010, resulting in thousands of people being evacuated. The Sultan also urged parents to steer their children clear of ideologies which deviated from the true teachings of Islam.

“There are still a handful of people in Kedah who are influenced by extremist ideologies and are prepared to become suicide terrorists in foreign lands,” he said.

He urged traditional religious schools (sekolah pondok) in Kedah to play a role in ensuring the people in the state were not swayed by extremist influence.

“Such schools around Kedah must also play the role,” said Tuanku Abdul Halim. In the context of Kedah, he hoped the federal government would promptly approve the proposal to build the Kulim International Airport in Sungai Petani.

He was confident the construction of the project could spur economic growth in the north of the peninsula. On the political situation in Kedah, he was proud that politics in the state was under control.

“I am aware that prolonged politicking bores the people, as such I urge government and opposition leaders to prioritise service to the people,” he added. – Bernama