KUANTAN: The state government will consider stopping part of the forested area in Merapoh, Lipis, from being developed after opposition arose over the project.
State public amenities and environment committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Soffi Abdul Razak said the state executive council would discuss the matter and find the best solution for locals.
Mohd Soffi said the logging and bulldozing works were for planting palm oil trees.
“It is for a good cause but for there to be a palm oil plantation, it is impossible not to chop down a single tree,” he said.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, however, chided environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for not being sincere in bringing up the Merapoh deforestation issue.
He said the matter was only raised when development of the land owned by the Pahang State Agricultural Development Corporation (PKPP) was already underway.
“They should have told us earlier. Then we could have moved the development to another site.
“Now the area has been cleared and these NGOs are making an issue out of it.
“They are actually not being sincere since they waited until the trees were felled,” Adnan said during the state assembly sitting here on Monday.
Adnan said even as the chairman of PKPP, he did not know each and every lot owned by the corporation.
“You cannot expect me to go and survey the sites in a helicopter each time we want to start development,” he said.
The clearing of forested areas near Gua Hari Malaysia or Gua Padang Kawad in Merapoh, Lipis, had been drawing flak from nature lovers and visitors to the eco-tourism site.
The clearing of the 668.79ha area, however, did not involve any permanent reserved forest and had actually been approved for agricultural purposes.
The network of caves in Merapoh had been promoted as an eco-tourism product and a caving paradise over the past few years.
The caves and its surroundings, said to be over 300 million years old, are popular for its limestone hills, various species of flora and fauna as well as crystal clear streams and rivers.
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