‘Public inquiry still required for Bukit Cherakah forest reserve excision’

Ongoing land clearing and development at the Bukit Cherakah Forest Reserve in Shah Alam. — Photo courtesy of Shah Alam Community Forest Society

THE Shah Alam Community Forest (SACF) Society says it cannot accept the Selangor Forestry Department’s explanation on Bukit Cherakah Forest Reserve’s excision process.

“If the excision process had been put on hold until this year, then the requirement for holding the public inquiry must still apply,” said the society.

Department director Datuk Ahmad Fadzil Abdul Majid, in StarMetro’s report on July 11, had said that a public hearing was not required as the process for the excision of the forest reserve started before the enactment.

He said that Section 11 of Enactment (Adoption) 1985 to the National Forestry Act 1984 requiring a public hearing was instituted in 2011, while the degazettement of the forest reserve started around 1991 and was pending from 2006.

He added that the degazettement on May 5 this year was backdated from 2006 in line with the decision of Selangor state executive council in 2000.

“We reject this explanation as the land covering 406.2ha includes a wildlife corridor that we proposed as Shah Alam Community Forest,” said SACF Society.

“The forest is vibrant. It is home to endangered species of wildlife, including tapir, gibbons and hornbills.

“We estimate that there are at least three tapir living in that forest, based on photographic evidence from last February,” it highlighted.

“Our lawyers have advised us that there is no provision in the forestry law that allows the backdating of excision notifications,” said SACF Society in its statement.

“The legal requirement to replace the excised area, which has been in force since 1984, was also not addressed,” it added.

SACF Society also noted what had been said by Selangor tourism, environment, green technology and Orang Asli affairs committee chairman Hee Loy Sian last year.

On Oct 23, 2021, StarMetro reported Hee as saying that part of SACF had been degazetted with land titles issued to developers.

He had said that if the plots of land had not been degazetted, land titles could not have been issued.

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