No extension given for stakeholders to submit objections over degazetting of forest reserve

KUALA LANGAT: There will be no extension given for stakeholders to submit objections against the degazetting of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR), which ends Thursday (March 5), says an exco member.

Selangor state environment, green technology, science and consumer affairs committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said the 30-day notice inviting stakeholders in Kuala Langat to voice their objections was sufficient, adding that 13,000 people had sent in their objections.

“The next step will be to call for a public hearing expected in early April and we will address all issues raised."

The meeting will be chaired by Hee.

On Wednesday (March 4), the Protect the Selangor Forests Coalition urged the state Forestry Department to extend the period for stakeholders to voice their views.

Hee said this was only a proposal to degazette, and there is no firm decision yet.

“Selangor is the only state to hold a public hearing. We thank the stakeholders for providing feedback, ” he said after a site visit to the ongoing fires at the Kuala Langat South Forest Reserve.

The public hearing is in accordance with the Public Inquiry (Selangor) Rules 2014 and the National Forestry Act (Adoption) Enactment 1985, which makes the exercise (placement of notice) compulsory before a forest reserve can be degazetted.

The notice that the forest could be degazetted for a mixed development project shocked environmentalists and 2,000 Temuan Orang Asli community who lived off the forest.

Environmentalists cautioned that the forest reserve, a type of peat swamp forest, was an area of importance for biodiversity conservation for critically endangered flora and fauna, such as the meranti bakau, Malayan sun bear, Selangor pygmy flying squirrel and the rare Langat red fighting fish.

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