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Ministry: ECRL will see forest reserves gone, wildlife displaced

 | November 27, 2017

Natural resources and environment ministry tells Dewan Rakyat its environmental impact assessment will include mitigation plan to help with wildlife.

DEWAN RAKYAT

Laluan-Kereta-Api-Pantai-Timur-ecrl-chinaPETALING JAYA: The natural resources and environment ministry has admitted that large tracts of forest reserves in three states will be sacrificed for the development of the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL).

This was stated in a written reply in the Dewan Rakyat today, by the ministry.

Responding to a question from Noor Azmi Ghazali (BN-Bagan Serai), the ministry said an area spanning about 357 hectares cuts across Terengganu, Pahang and Selangor.

It is said to be home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, mousedeer (kancil), tapirs, sun bears, wild boars and leopards.

“Among the effects of the ECRL project on the affected area are habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, human-animal conflict, poaching, obstacles to animal migration and roadkill,” the ministry said.

It added that the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the ECRL will include a wildlife mitigation plan.

The plan would recommend that the ECRL development provide wildlife crossings, eight tunnels (39.3km in total length), at least four viaducts or culverts and about 600km in fencing or walls to prevent track encroachment by wildlife.

“The mitigation plan must include programmes to rescue trapped wildlife, human-animal conflict management, translocation of wildlife, enforcement plans, public awareness plans and habitat enrichment plans,” the ministry told the Dewan Rakyat.

The RM55 billion ECRL project will be built by China’s state-owned China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), and is eventually meant to link Port Klang in Selangor with the east coast of the peninsula.

During the groundbreaking ceremony for the 600km-long ECRL on Aug 9, Prime Minister Najib Razak described the project as a “game changer” and “mindset changer” for Malaysia as it would significantly cut travel time between the west coast and east coast.

He said the full trip was expected to take less than four hours, compared with the current eight- to 12-hour land journey even in non-peak periods.

In June, the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) had expressed its concern for the environmental impact of the ECRL.

MNS said it viewed with deep concern the potential environmental impact that the project may cause during its construction period.

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Worries over ECRL’s impact on the environment


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