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Friday May 27, 2011

Setting boundaries

THE Penang Forestry Department plans to mark the boundaries of the forests in the state to differentiate between gazetted forests and plantation land, to prevent illegal encroachment by farmers.

Its director Shah Rani Ahmad Zailan said the demarcation of the 7,254ha of forests in the state would provide a clear boundary for farmers on the areas that they would not be allowed to encroach.

He said 7% of the state’s surface area was covered by forests, with 5,139ha being gazetted forests and 2,115ha state-owned forests.

Protecting forests: (From left) Shah Rani, Penang MACC director Datuk Latifah Md Yatim, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (Penang branch) chairman Datuk Muhammad Ismail and Penang Drainage and Irrigation Department deputy director Ab Rahim Jakin at the briefing session.

“There have been some cases in the past few years of farmers in plantations neighbouring the forests who over-expanded their farm illegally.

“We have to handle this issue before it gets more serious,” he said after a briefing session on environmental issues conducted by the Penang Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Penang on Wednesday.

Shah Rani said the department had applied to the Federal Government for a RM1mil allocation for the project.

“Hopefully we will get the allocation by the end of this year, and we can start the project as soon as possible,” he said.

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