‘Need for proper handling of open burning issue’

KLANG: While the fire caused by open burning is still raging at the Kuala Langat Selatan Forest Reserve, state authorities are also saddled with simmering peat fires in Johan Setia here.

The Selangor government had in 2019 said it would confiscate land belonging to errant farmers who resorted to open burning and in October that year, some 20 landowners were identified and investigated for carrying out open burning to clear their land of old vegetable crops.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari, however, said that matters related to the legitimate farmers must be handled carefully.

“There has to be consideration and diplomacy. Johan Setia is the biggest producer of vegetables in the Klang Valley and if not handled properly, vegetable supply may be insufficient and we will have to depend on imports, ’’ he said.

On the Selangor Forestry Department’s proposal for all farmers in the state to be registered with the Selangor State Agricultural Development Corporation (PKPS), Amirudin described it as a good idea.

“We will be very happy as we will be able to monitor and identify good farming practices that will not create problems such as open burning and pollution, ’’ he said.

He added that PKPS was embarking on a food security exercise and taking the farmers under its wings could be part of the initiative.

Meanwhile, authorities said that another big problem in Johan Setia was identifying some of the land owners.

Klang Municipal Council deputy enforcement director Shahrul Hazri Abd Majid said many owners were oblivious to the exact location of their lots.

He said that given the land in Johan Setia was a huge parcel that was subdivided, many did not seek to find out the exact location as they did not have an urgent need to use the land.

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