MELAKA: An environmental group has called on the Melaka government to conserve the remaining 3% of its forest reserve following news that fresh contracts have been awarded for sand dredging activities at a 200ha forest reserve in Jasin.
The Organisation for the Preservation of Natural Heritage Malaysia (Peka) president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said the state government should stop giving excuses to justify their move to award contracts for sand dredging activities.
“There has been no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report carried out before the contracts to the six companies were given.
“Secondly, the state government should focus on improving the tourism industry.”
Shariffa Sabrina said the state government should realise that taxes imposed on sand dredging or even logging concessions are negligible, adding that it was not worth it to compromise the limited natural resources for a pittance.
“Raw materials can be sourced from quarries at neighbouring states,” she said, adding that Chief Minister Adly Zahari should also understand that trees would be felled to make way for machinery to enter the dredging site.
“The state government has not kept its promise to protect the environment by lifting its nine-month ban on such activities at forest reserves. Chief Minister Adly Zahari should revoke the contracts and focus on other innovative ways to generate income for the state,” she added.
Adly said the contracts were given after the moratorium on sand mining activities as well as harvesting of forest products in July last year were lifted two months ago.
“The ban was rescinded following the shortage of sand supplies at construction sites,” he said in a statement to The Star.