PETALING JAYA: Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) today claimed 20ha of forest on the hill slopes of Banjaran Kledang in Chemor, near Ipoh, have been cleared since Nov 1.
SAM president Meenakshi Raman said this area was formerly part of the 500ha Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve.
Based on field observations on Dec 6, about 20ha of forest area had been cleared and left barren, she said.
SAM and Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa) questioned whether the logging licensee in the former HS Kledang Saiong had obtained approval for its environmental impact assessment (EIA) report before beginning its extraction activities.
The concession area totals 151ha.
The EIA report is necessary under the Environmental Quality (Prescribed Activities) (Environmental Impact Assessment) Order 2015 for logging or conversion of any land, between 100ha and 500ha in size, to other use.
“SAM and Kuasa have repeatedly voiced our concerns and called on the state authorities not to excise land from permanent reserved forests (PRF).
“We had proposed that the excised forest lands be re-gazetted or replaced with other land areas as PRF. However, our recommendations have not been taken seriously.
“In fact, the first agenda discussed during SAM’s meeting with the Perak menteri besar on Feb 19 was that the state authorities should not excise any protected area, especially PRF, without justification and reasonable requirement.
“Although the excision of a portion of HS Kledang Saiong, covering 500ha, was carried out during the previous administration, the MB, as the state executive councillor in charge of land, forest and natural resources, should have considered its impact on environmental wellbeing.
“He should re-gazette the excised land as PRF. This is in line with one of the objectives of the National Forest Policy and the goals and objectives of the Forestry Department, which aspires to have five million hectares of PRF in Peninsular Malaysia in 2020.
“The excised portion of HS Kledang Saiong should have been protected and conserved as it is part of the Kinta Valley Geopark,” Meenakshi said.
She hoped Perak would review and refine all other project proposals that could have a significant impact on the well-being of the environment as this was one of the manifesto initiatives by Pakatan Harapan in the 14th general election.