Group wants Selangor MB to revoke Bukit Cherakah forest excision

A GROUP of civil society organisations (CSOs) is urging Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari to revoke the degazettement of the Bukit Cherakah Forest Reserve.

The group said that in excising the Bukit Cherakah Forest Reserve the state failed to comply with Section 12 of the Selangor NFA 1985, where it should have provided replacement land as a permanent reserved forest of the same size as the excised area.

“Selangor government should do the right thing and revoke this degazettement, especially when the state government intends to keep at least 30% of its forest reserves as stated in the Selangor Structure Plan 2035,” the group stated.

The group is led by Biodiversity, Environment, Agroecology, Climate Change and Habitat, the environmental cluster of the CSO Platform for Reform Malaysia.

It said Bukit Cherakah was created in 1909 and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna including tapir, white-handed gibbons and hornbills as well as over 450 species of plants.

The area is not appropriate for development which can cause soil erosion and landslides, said the group in a statement.

“Increased siltation may also contribute to flash floods downstream,” it added.

“A gazette notification (Gazette No. 1645) dated May 5, 2022, announced that the state had excised 406.22ha from the Bukit Cherakah Forest Reserve, Shah Alam, based on a decision by the Selangor State Executive Council on Nov 20, 2000,” said the group.

“The excision of the said forest reserve was done under Section 11 of Selangor’s National Forestry Act (Adoption) Enactment 1985 (Selangor NFA 1985).

“According to a recent statement by the Selangor Forestry Department, the exercise was conducted to complete a process thatpurportedly began in 2000,” said the group.

It also highlighted again that the Selangor government had amended its forestry enactment in 2011 to provide for mandatory public inquiries prior to any excision of forest reserves.

“This is provided for under the Selangor Public Inquiry (Selangor) Rules 2014.

“The current state government should have held the mandatory public inquiry before the excision,” said the group.

The statement emphasised that the final decision on the excision of any forest reserve following the public inquiry must be made by the state legislative assembly.

“This step will allow for all key facts to be revealed.

“Ultimately, the people’s representatives can debate and decide on the matter publicly,” said the group.

Signatories in the statement included Friends of Bukit Kiara, Friends of Klang River Basin, Jaringan Ekologi Dan Iklim, Malaysian Nature Society Selangor and Pahang branches, Penang Hills Watch, Persatuan Rimba Komuniti Shah Alam, Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam and Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

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