PETALING JAYA: The Pahang Forestry Department has issued an order to halt logging activities near Fraser’s Hill, putting a stop to the construction of logging roads and removal of logs in the area.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the department issued the stop order on Sept 8 following protests against logging in the area by the Association for the Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia (Peka).
In a statement, Dr Wan Junaidi said the logging area that had become the point of contention by Peka measured some 106.78ha of government land.
The land, he said, constituted mining lots within the Batu Talam Forest Reserve, which made up parts of Compartment 213 and 214.
The area is located some 950m above sea level.
According to Dr Wan Junaidi, the department had licensed the area with Licence Number *CC-02-3-2017 (KP/K), effective July 15 until Jan 14 next year.
“Initial checks by the department on Sept 12 found that work being carried out so far in the area only involved the construction of a 1.7km road.
“Contractors removed machinery from the site on Sept 14. Only damaged machines and vehicles were not taken out,” he said.
Dr Wan Junaidi said the logging site was located some 15km away from Fraser Hill’s recreational area. He added that there were two forest reserves near Fraser’s Hill, namely the Batu Talam Forest Reserve and the Tranum Forest Reserve.
Two weeks ago, Peka had called for a stop to all logging activities in the forests of Fraser’s Hill, a major water catchment area and the source of two major river systems – Sg Pahang and Sg Selangor.
Peka president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said recently that Fraser’s Hill was a sensitive area as the soil eroded easily and any deforestation there would have an immediate environmental impact, especially on its role as a water catchment area.
She called on the government to permanently end all logging and deforestation activities around Fraser’s Hill and to gazette it and the surrounding forests as a heritage site.
The Pahang Forestry Department had confirmed that a permit had been given for the logging.