Environmental activists want Perak govt not to extend land leases for quarries, mining sites in geoparks

IPOH: Environmentalists have urged the state government here not to extend the ownership and lease period of land for quarry and mining sites located within the Kinta Valley National Geopark and permanent forests reserves in Perak.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman (pic) said this is especially so for quarry sites located at limestone hills, of which many sites had been declared as part of the Geopark.

Citing an example, Meor Razak said Gunung Kanthan (Area C and D) poses a grave threat to the critically endangered and endemic flora and fauna species found only at the site.

He said among the endemic flora found in the area are Meiogye kanthanensis, and the endemic fauna includes a prehistoric spider known as Liphistius kanthanensi.

“Area A and B of Gunung Kanthan have already been destroyed due to quarrying, now with the extension of the lease, we are worried that these pockets of land will be destroyed as well.

“Several other limestone hills, where quarry activities are taking place, contain caves that house prehistoric findings, and unique biodiversity values that should be preserved instead of destroyed by quarrying activities,” he told a press conference held at the D’Lereng Adventure Camp in Chepor near here Saturday (Sept 4).

Representatives of several other NGOs such as Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa), Pertubuhan Alam Sekitar Sejahtera Malaysia, Kinta Valley Watch, and Persatuan Jurupandu Geopark Warisan Alam Semulajadi Perak were also present.

Meor also claimed that a company had put in an application for quarrying to be conducted on 122ha of land in the Segari-Melintang forest reserve at the Manjung district.

He hoped that the state government would not approve such an application, as the land is located at the coastal area.

“In 2014, the National Land Council had come up with a resolution that all state authorities should take the initiative to control, or prevent any approvals for logging or quarry activities in permanent forest reserves.

“We need to abide by such a ruling, because mining and quarrying activities in forest reserves can affect the biodiversity,” he added.

Therefore, Meor said the state government must review approvals for such activities in the state for well-preserved rich limestone hills and forest reserves in Perak.

When contacted, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad said he was checking with the Land and Mines Office on the matter.

“I will wait for their response before giving a statement,” he said.

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