Green groups urge Perak to hold hearings when degazetting forest reserves


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 19 Feb 2019

IPOH: Environmentalist groups have urged the Perak state government to conduct public hearings when degazetting forest reserves.

Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa) president Hafizudin Nasarudin said such hearings would help prevent conflicts.

He said Selangor had started holding public hearings on such matters, and that Perak should follow suit.

"I hope Perak becomes the next state in being transparent when announcing logging, mining or other development projects involving the forest.

"By having public hearings, I believe we will be able to reach agreements, and all development projects can be carried out smoothly without having to keep it a secret," he told reporters after Kuasa and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) had a meeting with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu at his office here.

Hafizudin said they also spoke on illegal encroachment, and hoped that the state government would recognise environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as their 'third eye' in monitoring such activities.

"Our aim is to help keep an eye on encroachments, areas not suitable for development and areas which can be developed.

"For instance, it is not right to carry out farming at the Central Forest Spine areas, as this will create conflict for the wildlife, can cause pollution and so forth," he added.

He said Perak required a more sustainable development transition with a green economy, and thus the state government needed better planning.

"This is just the beginning of our talks with the Mentri Besar, and over time there will be more such discussions for the betterment of the state," Hafizudin added.

Forestry Department director Datuk Mohamed Zin Yusop, who was also present, said this was the first time such a meeting was held.

"We will have more discussions in time to come, and we hope to cooperate with the NGOs, and to get their input in improving issues pertaining to the forest in Perak," he added.
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