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Sunday August 28, 2005

Najib: Conserve and nurture our forest


KUALA LUMPUR: “Don’t look at our trees and forests as just a source of timber. Look beyond our forests and appreciate what they offer.” 

This was the message from Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who said the forest was a gift from God and that it was everyone’s responsibility to protect it. 

“Our religion forbids the killing of animals and plants as it forbids the killing of women and children. 

“If we fail to protect our forests, what will we leave behind for our next generation?” he said when opening the Selangor Heritage Park at the Klang Gates Dam yesterday. 

He said public perception of forests had to be changed and the people must be encouraged to appreciate them. 

An exclusive picture of the just gazetted Selangor Heritage Park (Taman Warisan Selangor). To the right is the Klang Gates Dam, a vital lifeline to the water needs of residents in the Klang Valley. To the left, you see how housing is slowly encroaching into the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge that protects the dam. More significantly, this is a vital catchment area and the park which stretches from Hulu Selangor to Hulu Langat, bordering Pahang and Perak will preserve that function in perpetuity. For context, the park, at 107,00 hectares, is bigger than the state of Perlis or Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya combined.--Photo courtesy of the Selangor Mineral and Geoscience Department.
“The forest provides us with clean water, food, herbs and clean air amongst others. 

“We can also benefit from ecotourism if we promote such places in the right way,” he added. 

Spread out from Hulu Selangor, Gombak and Hulu Langat, the park area is bigger than Perlis itself. It provides 98% of Selangor’s water supply. 

“It is by itself bigger than Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya combined,” said Najib who is also the National Forestry Council chairman.  

The Selangor Heritage Park also has the longest quartz ridge in the world, at a length of 14km. 

Najib said the place must be conserved and nurtured for it to be enjoyed by everyone, even future generations. 

“Setting aside this huge tract of forest reserve as a park shows the long-sightedness of the state government,” he said. 

Najib said it was important for everyone to take measures to ensure that rivers were clean, to avoid the cutting of hill slopes and also to avoid losing the country’s fauna and flora. 

He expressed his hope that all state governments would emulate Selangor’s move by setting aside land to be gazetted. 

“Gazetting the park is the first step. We need a comprehensive management plan for the park to ensure it meets its objectives and intentions,” he added. 

“Man is behind all the environmental problems we face today; from the haze, river pollution, floods and air quality.” 

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo, who was present, said the park was gazetted under the Selangor State Park Corporation Enactment 2005.  

“No development will be allowed here unless the public agrees to it. 

“Houses still located within the park boundaries will be moved out soon as they are causing pollution to the rivers that flow through the park,” he said. 

The park is the source of three major rivers, Sungai Selangor, Sungai Klang and Sungai Langat. 

Five dams are located within this park with 23 major water intake points as well. 

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