20ha of hills near Bukit Kledang range cleared

Shocking find: Environmental groups are up in arms upon discovering that land near the Bukit Kledang range have been cleared for an unknown project.

IPOH: Environmental groups in Perak are raising the alarm bells again after discovering some 20ha of hills near the Bukit Kledang range have been cleared.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said he noticed the condition of the hills on Friday.

“Although the clearing is within the 500.2ha land that has been degazetted from its forest reserve status, it is part of the Kinta Geopark Valley.

“Such clearing activity will definitely affect the flora and fauna in the area,” he said.

In February, about 10ha of hills at Kledang Saiong was also found cleared for an unknown project.

In March, the state government said it would continue to push for the 400ha forest replanting project involving forest in Kledang Saiong near Batu Gajah, Bukit Kinta in Gopeng and Piah near Gerik.

Meor Razak said although the land was degazetted earlier by the previous administration, the current government wanted to consider all aspects before pursuing the clearing.

“We are puzzled as to why the clearing was done in the first place.

“The entire Kinta Valley falls under the geopark.

“If the clearing is for a development purpose, wouldn’t it contradict the state’s decision to protect the Kinta Geopark Valley?

“Upon checking, we also saw some logs being removed from the clearing.

“Many of them have small diameters and this is against the practice of logging older and bigger trees.”

On Oct 29 last year, the Perak Tourism Action Council was set up under government administration to protect, maintain and conserve Kinta Valley as a national park.

There are at least 18 sites within the geopark including Kantan Cave, Gunung Korbu, Sungai Salu and Ulu Chepor which are located near to Bukit Kledang.

The geopark sites are not only limited to geological but also include important historical, archaeological, arts and cultural sites and biodiversity.

Meor Razak said based on the licence board found at the site, the clearing started on Dec 1 with the approval to clear 151.49ha of land.

“We wonder how this project received the Environmental Impact Assessment before conducting the clearing.

“Since the area is near a residential area, we are afraid such clearing will impact the nearby community.”

Kumpulan Aktivis Sahabat Alam president Hafizudin Nasarudin said if the clearing continued, not only would it affect the flora and fauna but it might also cause some natural disasters.

“In many cases of forest clearing, when there is heavy rain, there will be floods, affecting the nearby community.

“We urged the state administration to justify its decision to give the project the green light,” he said.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu could not be reached for comments.

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