Residents in Manong say land clearing activities at Bubu Forest Reserve puts them at risk


KUALA KANGSAR: Residents in Manong near here are concerned after spotting heavy machinery in the Bubu Forest Reserve.

They also saw an access road that had already been built into the forest reserve and believed that logging activity was bound to begin in the near future.

Former Forestry Department staff Sanadi Haris, 60, from Kampung Piol, said he feared the worst.

"I don't really know what they plan to do there but there have been talks about the project being a logging activity.

"If they clear the forest land, it will affect the locals in Manong," he said when met during a meeting with Manong assemblyman Berhanudin Ahmad at the community hall in Manong on Friday (Nov 24).

"We are fearful that what happened in Baling (Kedah) could happen here," he said, adding that thousands of villagers from Kampung Guar, Kampung Manong, Kampung Suak Petai and Kampung Ulu Piol could be impacted.

In July 2022, several villages in Baling were submerged in muddy floodwater, with houses destroyed and people killed, while hundreds of others were displaced following a water surge phenomenon.

Sanadi claimed that the water supplied to the area was often not "clear" and would be worse whenever it rains heavily.

"I remember we could drink the water directly from the tap when I was younger.

"About 10 years ago, there had been some logging activity nearby and it caused the water to be murky," he said.

"It has been like that since then, so we strongly object to any logging activities at the forest reserve," he added.

Kampung Suak Petai villager Mohd Nizam Mohd Lufttee, 47, said the wind blows quite strongly in Manong, as the small town was located in a valley.

"If they clear the forest land, we would no longer have any protection.

"If we are to face a thunderstorm, we will feel the full brunt of the strong wind and more. Expect tents or roofs to be blown away and more frequent flash floods to occur, " he said.

Meanwhile, Sahabat Alam Malaysia field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said the people in Manong had every right to be concerned as the quality of the water would be affected due to land clearing work.

"The riverines and streams in the forest reserve also flows to the Perak River, which flows downstream to many other areas in the state," he said, adding that the agriculture sector operating near the river could be impacted.

Meor Razak said the logging activity would not benefit the people in Manong.

"In any environment impact assessment, there would be a social impact assessment.

"The loss of trees may cause temperature to rise, like global warming, and it could affect the farming industry as the growth of certain produce may be stunted or causing lower yield," he said.

"I understand that no public hearing was also held with the community here.

"We ask the state government to reevaluate the approval for the project as the people here have voiced their disagreement with it," he added.

Berhanudin said he would try to get more information about the matter from the relevant governmental departments.

"Having heard of the concerns from the people, I will help bring their grouses up with the state government," he added.

A request to get comments from Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad on the matter has been made.

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Manong , Kuala Kangsar , Logging , Forest , Reserve , Objection

   

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