Group: Gazette forest reserve and settle court case

A GROUP called the Signature Campaign Teamwork (SCT) wants legal steps taken to safeguard the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve, following the Selangor state government’s promise not to develop the forest reserve.

Selangor Tourism, Consumer and Environment Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong had announced the state government’s decision to abort a proposed cemetery project in the forest reserve at a New Year celebration in Puchong on Jan 9.

“For the issue to be resolved, the state government has to permanently gazette the site as a forest reserve, and get their lawyers to inform the Shah Alam High Court to reach an out of court settlement with regards to the case,” said SCT secretary Ng Chee Kwong.

The SCT had applied for a judicial review on the proposed cemetery project at the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve.

The case is fixed for mention on March 16 at the Shah Alam High Court.

The state government and the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) have been named as the respondents.

“Our lawyers told us that their lawyers have to inform the judge that the project has been cancelled and get the court to record the case; otherwise it would be considered as contempt of court,” said Ng.

“The forest reserve also has to be regazetted, because there is a risk that the project will be revived if it is not.

“We want a legal solution to safeguard the forest reserve and residents, as a political announcement does not mean anything.”

Although the SCT had received an invitation to attend the celebration, Ng said they did not send any representatives as they did not know who had sent the invitation and that no definitive solution had been issued.

“We are giving the state government a March 16 deadline to gazette the forest reserve and settle the court case,” he said.

Ng said the SCT was also against the conditional agreement mentioned by the Selangor Mentri Besar that the state government could only regazette the forest reserve when another suitable site for the cemetery was identified.

The SCT comprises representatives from Saujana Puchong, Mutiara Indah, Bandar Bukit Puchong, Gateway Puchong and Lestari Puchong.

According to the SCT members, there are more than 10,000 houses in the five housing areas.

They are against the cemetery project due to its proximity to their homes and to ensure that the forest reserve remains as it is to preserve the environment.

Ng said the proposed cemetery project covers 150 acres but it was initially stated at 55.

The forest reserve originally spanned some 4,270ha but it was degazetted over a variety of land uses over the years.

As of February 2009, 1,217ha had been gazetted by the Selangor government as an education and research forest.

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