IPOH: It is a case of deja vu for Panorama Tambun Perdana residents here as an attempt to clear land on a nearby hillslope has taken place once again.
Resident Christine Wong said a contractor went into the area in an excavator on June 4 to do earthworks on the pretext of wanting to build a fence on land owned by the Perak Islamic Affairs and Malay Customs Council (MAIPk).
Wong said similar land-clearing work also occurred in 2011 and 2017.
“We had a meeting at the Tambun police station with representatives from MAIPk and the state Land and Mines Department on the matter on Wednesday (June 10).
“We found out that there had been no approval from the authorities for it and the contractor has been told to stop work until they get a permit, ” she said during a press conference held at the residential area on Thursday (June 11).
It had been reported in 2011 and in 2017 that land clearing works were being carried out by contractors on the hillslope.
The hillslope was meant for MAIPk to use as a cemetery reserve, but it was not in use then.
In 2011, an individual had allegedly tried to mine iron ore at the hill, while claiming that he wanted to set up a herb farm there that never materialised.
The Perak Minerals and Geoscience Department had also certified that the limestone hill - named Gunung Panjang - was rich in iron ore, but is sensitive to physical disturbances as parts of it are made up of colluvial deposits, which are loose, unconsolidated sediments.
In 2017, a contractor had tried to clear the land there for a durian plantation project, but it was stopped after objections were raised by the residents.
Wong said they opposed any work or development on the hillslope as the physical disturbance could cause a rockslide.
“We are appealing to the state government to find MAIPk another piece of land so they can relocate the reserve land. This is our third appeal. How many more times do we need to do this, ” said Wong.
“We understand that the land will not be used as a cemetery, so why is there a need to fence it up, ” she added.
Similar views were shared by Sahabat Alam Malaysia field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman, who said that Gunung Panjang should be gazetted as a protected area.
Meor Razak said it should not be hard for the state government to do so as MAIPk was a state agency.
“The state should work in line with their policy after the Kinta Valley was recognised as a National Geopark in 2018. No limestone forests in Perak have been gazetted as protected areas; Gua Tempurung is not one as it is for recreational purposes, ” he said.
“If the hill is not gazetted, there’ll be more people coming in to do something, ” he added when speaking to reporters at the site.
In a separate press conference, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said he was aware of the matter and that necessary actions would be taken.
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