PENANG Gerakan Youth has criticised the state government for not keeping its promise to gazette Pulau Jerejak in Penang as a permanent forest reserve.
Its legal and public complaints bureau chief Jason Loo referred to a statement made by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in a local Chinese daily on Sunday which quoted Lim as saying that Pulau Jerejak and Bukit Jambul could not be gazetted as permanent forest reserves.
“He (Lim) said procedures for any future development may become complicated if the state government gazetted these two places.
“He also said that even if they were gazetted as forest reserves, the land would still be destroyed by people who are without environmental awareness,” he said.
He was speaking at a press conference at the state Gerakan headquarters in Macalister Road, George Town, yesterday.
Loo said the Penang Gerakan Youth was shocked by Lim’s statement which proved that he was not sincere in wanting to gazette Pulau Jerejak.
He recalled Opposition Leader Datuk Jahara Hamid raising the issue in the state assembly sitting in November through a written question which state Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh answered on behalf of the Chief Minister.
“Phee had said that the 295ha forest area of Pulau Jerejak will be gazetted as a permanent fo-rest reserve and the relevant gazetting procedures will be done when the state Land Committee completes its overall development plan.
“I took the answer to mean that the effort to gazette the land as a forest reserve was in progress but I am surprised when Lim came out with a totally different answer last week,” he said.
Loo said Penangites did not want to see the state’s greenery being slowly destroyed.
“I urge the state government to reveal the plans for Pulau Jerejak or else its slogan of a ‘Safer, Cleaner, Greener and Healthier Penang’ is just an empty promise.”
Phee declined to comment on the matter.