Group wants Shah Alam Forest to be a community-managed reserve

SOME trees along the hiking trail in the Shah Alam Forest in Section U10 are "calling out" to hikers to save them from being cut down to make way for development.

An effort by the Shah Alam Community Forest Society that was carried out on Thursday (Jan 3), the initiative involved tying on trees "Save Me" signs that are addressed to ministers and the state government.  

The signs also urge those who pass by them to scan the QR code and sign a petition to save the forest.

The SACF Society, set up in 2016 by Setia Alam and Alam Budiman residents, is urging the state government to turn the forest into a community-managed permanent forest reserve.

With developments already taking place next to the forest trails, the group is worried that further development could lead to the lost of the green lung.

The Shah Alam Forest consists of a remaining patch of natural lowland dipterocarp forest that approximately 161.9ha in size and is surrounded by Setia Alam, Alam Budiman and Nusa Rhu housing developments.

It was part of the wider Bukit Cerakah Forest Reserve that was originally constituted on May 21, 1909 under the Selangor Forest Enactment.

The forest forms a critical ecological corridor that connects the two remaining patches of Bukit Cerakah Forest Reserve.

The forest land ownership is divided into two parts – state land with no use at approximately 52.61 ha and Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) owned land earmarked for residential development at about 109.27ha.

SACF Society is requesting that all current development on the PKNS-owned part of the Shah Alam Forest be halted. They want the land be gazetted and for the community to be allowed to freely access the perimeter of the forest for educational and recreational purposes.

In addition, the society is requesting that a wildlife corridor be established to link the Shah Alam forest and the remaining forests of Bukit Cerakah for ecological purposes.

SACF Society secretary Alicia Teoh said thefact of the matter was that the forest was not protected.

She said development plans dated in the early 2000s showed that a road would be built within the forest to service upcoming residential areas.

“All these years, we have been trying to get more people to use the forest, to get the word out and get people to build affinity with the forest so that we can gather support. 

"We have also been reaching out to the government, those who can help us.”

Teoh said that the forest should be preserved not just for recreational but educational purposes.

“We want the forest to be a platform where people can learn and appreciate nature,” she said.

The society is supported by the Malaysian Nature Society and Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (PEKA) in their fight to save the forest.

Letters have been sent to ministers, government agencies, the Mentri Besar, state executive councillors and other relevant parties but no action has been taken to date.

Kota Anggerik assemblyman Najwan Halimi turned up and joined in a 2km hike to view the construction taking place next to the hiking trail.  

Najwan told reporters later that he would engage with Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari on the matter and to get the state government to consider the memorandum sent by SACF Society.

He said that the status of the land and development plans needed to be checked.

“If the plan has not been executed and there is room, we can think of another option.”

Najwan added that if environmental matters were taken lightly, it would have a negative impact on future generations.  
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