PETALING JAYA: Land clearing, this time for a film shoot, has started near Gunung Brinchang in Cameron Highlands, weeks after a nationwide protest erupted against a company for levelling a hill for vegetable farming.
The Society of Regional Environmental Awareness of Cameron Highlands (Reach) lodged a report with the Forestry Department a few days ago urging action against those responsible for the latest clearing.
Its chairman, Ramakrishnan Ramasamy, said the clearing was carried out by a local production company filming the movie Puteri Gunung Ledang.
He said in checks at the site two weeks ago, the society found that an area near the trail leading to Gunung Arau had been cleared of plants and vines.
“We found chainsaws and other equipment were being unloaded there and wooden platforms put up,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Ramakrishnan said the checks also revealed that eight lorries were brought to the area and sheds were being built for filming purposes.
The production crew could not be reached for comments.
A source in the Pahang Forestry Department revealed that it had received an application for the forest clearing, believed to be in the Batu Gangan forest reserve, on Friday but no confirmation could be obtained on whether approval was given to the company.
Worldwide Fund for Nature Malaysia (WWF) executive director Datuk Dr Mikaail Kavanagh Abdullah said it was “unbelievable” that people would clear forest for filming purposes.
“This delicate forest takes years to grow and it is exceptionally slow to recover from the damage.
“This is happening despite the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call for heavier penalties on illegal clearing activities and the Pahang Government’s freeze on development in the highlands,” he said.
Early last month, the Pahang government ordered a stop to all development projects in the highlands after illegal clearing was carried out by a developer on 8ha on the hill station near Blue Valley.
The order is expected to be enforced until amendments were made for stiffer penalties on errant parties.
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