Forest reserves encroachment: Will the Selangor royalty step in?

AFTER all channels of communication with the Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shaari have come to a stand-still, non-governmental organisation (NGO) Otai Reformis has proceeded to ask the next question: “Will the Sultan of Selangor and Raja Muda (Regent) act fast to save our pristine forest on behalf of Selangorians?”

As it is, already nearly 300,000 people have signed an online petition on to oppose the proposal by the Selangor Forestry Department four years ago to de-gazette 70 acres of land within the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve for a housing development.

And more recently, two environmentalist groups – the Shah Alam Community Forest Society (SACF) and Khazanah Alam Malaysia (PEKA) – have applied for an extension to the interim stay order for the de-gazettement of a piece of forest reserve land at Bukit Cherakah by another month until Oct 19.

Although this stay order was granted by the Shah Alam High Court, the time is ticking fast.

“If His Royal Highnesses are concerned about climate change and degradation to our environment, it is time now that they look seriously at the way state’s forest reserve is gradually parcelled out to even RM2 companies and converted to development or quarries by the state administration,” decried Otai Reformis secretary Abdul Razak Ismail.

“It is not that Selangor is short of residential properties that cannot cope with the population growth in the state. There are, in fact, many abandoned projects such as Bukit Beruntung which the State Government should look at reviving and turning them into proper housing estates for the rakyat instead of conveniently de-gazetting forest reserve.”

Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve


Abdul Razak reiterated that forest reserve is a legacy that has been passed on for generations – and once it is cleared – the biodiversity which it has helped to preserve will be gone forever.

“Some of the species may become extinct as a result. I believe the Raja Muda would be able to understand this,” he stressed.

Apart from Bukit Cerakah, Malaysiakini has recently exposed that 27 quarries are due to be open up in the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve Selangor with 40.468 hectares of forest reserves land being sold on the website for quarry purposes.

Interestingly, three of the developers are linked to the Selangor state government, of which two are government-linked companies (GLC) fully owned by the state government – Menteri Besar Selangor Inc (MBI) and Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) which are both chaired by Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari.

The third developer is owned by Koperasi Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri Selangor Bhd which is open for former or current employees of the Selangor Forestry Department to join.

In a statement yesterday (Sept 29), Selangor state executive councillor in-charge of tourism, environment, green technology and Orang Asli affairs Hee Loy Sian confirmed that around 28% of the Bukit Lagong forest reserve is set to be quarried without the land being excised from the reserve.

“All approvals for the quarries were issued in the form of minor licences according to Section 28 of the National Forestry Act (Adoption) Enactment 1985,” he noted in a statement. “The status of the land remains as a forest reserve.”

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Prof Dr Ahmad Ismail has identified Bukit Lagong as one of the last wildlife corridors connecting the forest reserve to the Kanching and Templer forests.

“This is all an important part of the Selangor State Park,” insisted Abdul Razak. “If efforts are not done now to preserve the rainforests in the state, Selangorians, including the Raja Muda and his generation, will be the biggest losers.” – Sept 30, 2022


Main photo credit: The Star

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