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Monday, 17 February 2014

MNS concerned over proposed forest degazetting

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) is concerned over the proposed dega-zetting of four forest reserves that form part of Selangor State Park for the construction of the Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR).

The road calls for land measuring 106.65ha to be carved out of the Hulu Langat, Bukit Sungei Puteh, Ulu Gombak and Ampang forest reserves, which in turn are part of the 108,300ha state park.

MNS conservation head Balu Perumal said based on the current status, no areas within the park could and/or should be degazetted.

“Otherwise, it will set a precedent for future developments. Also, there is still the option for the state to provide the right-of-way for KLORR without degazetting the forest reserves.

“In this case, the developer can also be subject to a yearly concession fee by the state which can go towards supporting the state park,” he said.

The notice to dezatte which was published in major dailies on Friday, stated that any objections or concerns must be submitted in written form to the Selangor Forestry Department within 30 days from the date of the notice.

“Whatever it is, the first option should be no road at all through the area, although the environmental impact assessment has already been approved by the Environment Depart­ment,” said Balu, who added that the second best option would be to impose a minimal cutting of forests or slopes if the project proceeds.

Selangor MNS vice-chairman Lim Teck Wyn said these forest reserves were a hub of biodiversity and housed many recreational spots such as streams, waterfalls and hills.

Lim, who is a forestry expert, said although he was dismayed to hear of the proposal to excise the land, he was glad that the Forestry Department had taken the step to consult the public.

The Forestry Department should also hold a public engagement meeting soon, he said.

The Selangor State Park was opened in 2005, and a huge part of it is highland over 300m above sea level, with steep slopes greater than 25 degrees.

As the third largest park in peninsular Malaysia after Taman Negara and Perak’s Royal Belum State Park, it forms a critical catchment for raw water used in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Tags / Keywords: Environment , MNS , Selangor , KLORR

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