IPOH: A memorandum urging the state government to stop its plan for monoculture plantations in forest reserves has been sent to the Perak Mentri Besar's office by environmentalist groups and some Orang Asli.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman, who presented the memorandum on behalf of those present, said they were disappointed that the state government chose to continue with the project.
"Our main concern is that the project is in the Central Forest Spine (CFS) area.
"Such plantations will affect the water catchment areas, wildlife as well as the livelihood of Orang Asli," he told reporters after handing over the memorandum to Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu's special officer Mohd Jaffrey Mohd Zainol outside the state secretariat building here Wednesday (Jan 8).
"While the project has yet to start, we want the state to reconsider it.
"We are worried that the forest reserve in Perak will face the same problem in Kelantan," he added.
It was reported last year that the state government would continue to push for the 400ha forest replanting project at forest reserves in Kledang Saiong near Batu Gajah, Bukit Kinta in Gopeng and Piah near Gerik.
The Bukit Kinta Forest Reserve also falls under the CFS corridor as part of the Banjaran Titiwangsa-Nakawan CFS area.
The CFS is part of the National Physical Plan, which is the backbone of Peninsular Malaysia's environment-sensitive network.
It was also reported in December 2019 that some 20ha of hills near Bukit Kledang range was cleared as part of a 151.49ha project for an orchard project under the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP).
Meor Razak said although some projects had received its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from the state Environmental Department, some projects did not follow the rules set by the Forestry Department.
"Some of the monoculture projects were done at hilly and steep forest sites, which is not allowed.
"Based on our observations, we noticed that most monoculture projects are being done without following the standard operating procedure," he said.
He added that a meeting was set up between environmentalist group and Ahmad Faizal in February last year.
"We demanded the same thing during the meeting, for the state government to stop its monoculture activity at Perak's forest reserves.
"Hopefully, the state will follow the National Physical Plan, State Structural Plan and CFS master plan and other policies when conducting any projects," he added.
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