KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today allowed an application by the developer of the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) project to be an intervener in a lawsuit by three environmental organisations to challenge the Selangor Forestry Department’s decision to close the Taman Rimba Ampang (Ampang Forest Park) to make way for the project.
The EKVE project is a proposed tolled highway connecting Bandar Sungai Long to Ukay Perdana across the Ampang Forest Reserve.
Judge Hanipah Farikullah made the decision in chambers after hearing submissions from all the parties.
Lawyer M Khartini, representing the three environmental organisations, told reporters that the court granted the application by EKVE Sdn Bhd because the company’s interests were directly affected by the lawsuit.
She said the judge also amended the temporary stay order to stop any work for the EKVE project within the Ampang Forest Reserve until the hearing of the inter-parte stay on July 20.
“The court also set Oct 10 to hear the merits of the judicial review application,” she added.
The three environmental organisations had obtained the temporary stay order to stop or stay any construction work and logging in the Ampang Forest Reserve from the High Court last May 11.
The organisations are the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Treat Every Environment Special Sdn Bhd and the Association for the Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia (Peka).
In their judicial review application, the organisations named the Selangor Government, Selangor Forestry Department and Ampang Jaya Municpal Council (MPAJ) as the first to third respondents.
In their application filed in April, they had sought a certiorari order to quash the decision of the Forestry Department to close the forest reserve, which is the main access to members of the public to get into the forest reserve, to give way to the construction work on the EKVE.
They are also seeking a declaration that the approval, permit and licence given by the three respondents for logging and construction for the EKVE project, located in Ampang Forest Reserve, to be cancelled as it was illegal and against the law.
The applicants said the Ampang Forest reserve was still gazetted as a permanent forest reserve and felling of trees and logging was against the law.
They said any development activities would also affect the water supply for the people in the area as well as threaten the biological diversity and the ecosystem.