KUALA LUMPUR: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry has directed all its agencies to work together in identifying the culprits behind rampant and illegal land clearing and occupation in Cameron Highlands.
Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel (pic) said he had also directed the district and land officers in the area to give their cooperation in combating such illegal activities, which were affecting the environment.
Illegal land clearing and occupation in the highlands, added Palanivel, had become increasingly widespread, resulting in the affected areas facing risks such as landslides and flash floods.
“This land encroachment is happening all the time and is a big problem in the highlands there.
“Although there is monitoring, I don’t know the source of the problem, which is difficult to control.
“I have surveyed the area by air and we don’t know who were behind the illegal clearing of land to turn it into farms,” he said after opening the Kuil Magazine Fiesta here yesterday.
However, Palanivel rejected the possibility that the illegal land clearing could have been carried out by Orang Asli.
The ministry and its 12 agencies would work together to continuously monitor the situation to prevent the problem from worsening, he added.
Last year, the Pahang state government had formed an integrated enforcement team to tackle illegal land encroachment in Cameron Highlands, which is famous
for its tea plantations and vegetable farms.
On another matter, Palanivel said the level of haze in the country had improved with the Air Pollutant Index readings showing a drop in most areas.
He said he would also be meeting his counterpart in Indonesia to find and discuss solutions to the problem of haze which hit Malaysia and other countries in the region each year due to forest fires in Central Sumatra.
Open burning activities in the country, said Palanivel, were still under control, adding that the ministry was investigating and taking appropriate enforcement action on reported cases. — Bernama