A Singaporean man who was trekking through the forest as part of an attempt to scale Gunung Tahan, peninsular Malaysia's highest peak, has drowned in a river.

Mohamed Nawaz Maricar, 43, was trying to cross a river when he was washed away in a rare phenomenon called the Kepala.

The incident happened at Sungai Kuala Luis near Merapoh in Malaysia on Saturday, New Straits Times reported citing local police.

The fellow trekkers alerted the police and rescue agencies after Nawaz disappeared as a water column suddenly rushed in on the river.

District police Superintendent Abdul Razak Hassan said Nawaz was part of a 25-member team that included three foriegners.

"Nawaz's body was found some five kilometers from the spot he was last seen about 7.30pm. The body was sent to Hospital Kuala Lipis about midnight for post mortem," the police chief said.

"Police have alerted the embassy to inform the family and make arrangements to send the body to Singapore for funeral," he said, according to the daily.