Melaka-based photographer CJ Fen today clarified that the pictures of a “clean and green” Sungai Melaka that went viral were taken before the movement control order (MCO).
Fen told Star Online that news reports claiming the implementation of the MCO had turned the river clearer are not true.
The 38-year-old photographer said he took the four pictures of Sungai Melaka at the end of February, before the MCO started on March 18, and posted them to his Facebook page, before they were also shared by several Melaka-based Facebook pages.
“Recently, I saw that several news outlets had published articles claiming that the MCO had contributed to the river’s revival. Some had even used my photos.
“My initial reaction when I saw the news reports was to laugh because this was not true, the MCO did not cause the river to clear up. It was already in that condition before the MCO. I can confirm this as I took the pictures in February,” he said.
Last week, some news outlets also quoted several locals, who confirmed the river was cleaner as there was less garbage dumped.
While acknowledging the MCO might have contributed to a greener river, Fen said that the credit should be given to the years of efforts by the authorities and locals.
“Maybe it has become cleaner during the MCO, but not clearer because rehabilitation and redevelopment of the river was actually started in phases many years ago by the government.
“Since then, there have been improvements from the days when people would complain that the river was dirty and smelly,” he said.
Fen explained that taking good visuals of the river actually depends on the weather.
He said the river would look clear and green after a few hot days with no rain and would appear murky if it had rained previously.
Fen also did not criticize news outlets for using his pictures without crediting him as he understood that it would have been difficult to trace them back to him.
He said that the pictures were not watermarked and were shared so many times that it would be hard to identify the original source. – MMO