Groups object to planned projects within Kledang Saiong Forest

Sahabat Alam Malaysia members, MCA representatives and Meru Valley Resort residents turning up to object to several proposed projects at the public hearing. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

THREE areas earmarked for proposed developments within the Kledang Saiong Forest near Ipoh have triggered an outcry from nature lovers and conservation groups.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said the three locations covering a total area of 151.18ha had been proposed for mixed development projects.

These locations are among many other proposed projects under the Ipoh Local Plan 2020.

Meor Razak added that those who objected to the projects submitted their views at the public hearing held at the Ipoh City Council’s building.

“We are hoping the state government, especially the Mentri Besar, will step in to prevent development from taking place in these areas.

“The Kledang Saiong Forest is within the Kinta Valley Geopark and developing the place goes against the declaration by the Sultan of Perak in 2018, ” he told reporters after attending the public hearing.

Also present were MCA and Parti Sosialis Malaysia representatives, Meru Valley Resort residents and other nature lovers who had submitted their objections.

Meor Razak said one of the areas had a spectacular waterfall, which was losing its lustre because of development in the surrounding areas.

“We talk about preservation and encouraging more ecotourism products but at the same time, trees are being cut down in the name of development.

“Then there is also the siamang species found at the range near the Meru Valley Golf Resort, which is within the Saiong Permanent Forest Reserve and if development is carried out, the wildlife will have no place to go, ” he added.

State local government committee chairman Paul Yong Choo Kiong, who was at the hearing, told reporters later that it was held to hear the views of the people on the proposed projects.

“All views and suggestions will be forwarded to the state planning committee (SPC), where a final decision will be made by the Mentri Besar.

“We are being transparent and that is why we had the hearing so that people could give their views, ” he added.

Yong said the meeting by the SPC would be held on March 12, after which those who had put in their objections would be informed of the decision.

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