Malacca forest reserve being cleared of timber

MALACCA: For close to a week now, lorries have been entering a forest reserve at the state’s border with Negri Sembilan and leaving with priceless timber.

The timber is being extracted from a forest reserve at Kampung Bukit Senggeh in Selandar, Jasin, without the knowledge of the Malacca state government.

The state came to know about it after villagers at the area saw seve­ral lorries transporting logs.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron was shocked when he was alerted about the activity and said the state government would investigate.

He said there should not be any logging at the forest reserve sites in Malacca as there were no new approvals.

“Malacca has a scarcity of trees and there are state government li­mits on logging activities. We want to save the environment,” he said from Sarawak, where he was attending the nomination day of the Sarawak election.

Idris said he would ask state go­vernment agency Syarikat Melaka Bekal Sdn Bhd, which is in charge of issuing licences for logging and sand dredging activities, to check the allegation.

The Bukit Senggeh and Batang Melaka Forest Reserves are close to Kampung Bukit Senggeh and Felda Bukit Senggeh, where the alleged illegal activity is taking place over an area of about 11ha.

But a spokesman for Syarikat Melaka Bekal said the logging acti­vities had nothing to do with them and only sand dredging was approved to a company at that site.

Villagers claimed to have seen a number of lorries transporting timber from the site.

One villager, Abdul Aziz Johari, 61, said he was sure the logging activity was illegal.

“The village headman should know if the logging was approved. We are concerned about its impact on the environment,” he said.

In 2014, an illegal encroachment at a 10ha rubber plantation also took place in the same area.

At that time, Idris said that the timber was yielded and replanted with rubber trees.

Earlier this month, Malacca police busted illegal logging activities at an abandoned golf project site here with the arrest of nine individuals and the owner of a plywood factory.

He said police believed the illegal logging had been going on since March or earlier at a 232ha site.

The site was abandoned in the 1970s and is situated close to an adjourning virgin jungle.

Police also confiscated 28 types of logs, including meranti, casuarina and jelutong.

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