Residents up in arms over forest clearing at Shah Alam’s Bukit Cerakah

An excavator carrying out earth works at the construction site at Bukit Cerakah forest reserve.

SHAH ALAM: Residents living beside the Bukit Cerakah forest reserve here are angry over a property development taking place nearby at a forest reserve overlooking a lake, but the developer says the plot of land has been degazetted.

Construction work had been ongoing despite the restrictions of the movement control order (MCO), according to a residents association member, Yuga Shanti.

“This is a water catchment area and the development will pollute the natural lake,” she told FMT during a site visit to the area, known as Perdana Heights.

This area, part of Shah Alam’s green lung Bukit Cerakah, used to be a dense forest.

There were concerns about the effect on wildlife, such as tapirs and other animals. A tigress had been found to have delivered at the forest.

In 2008, Shah Alam mayor Mazalan Md Noor was quoted in news reports assuring Perdana Heights residents that the lake would be preserved and no hillside development would take place in their area, in accordance with state policy.

During FMT’s visit to the site, two excavators were seen at the site carrying out earth works. A path about 1km long had been cleared through the dense forest, and more clearance was under way.

A satellite view of part of the Bukit Cerakah forest as captured from Google Maps.

A sub-contractor at the site said the authorities had given approval for the land clearing.

“We started earth clearing on March 15, then on March 18, the MCO was announced. We got our approval from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry during the MCO on April 28 to carry out the work,” said the sub-contractor who wanted to be known as Sau.

Sau said the government had given approval in January or early February.

Perdana Heights resident Yuga Shanti is worried about the impact of the development on the forest’s water catchment area and natural lake.

When contacted, YCH Developer Sdn Bhd said the land was degazetted several years ago.

“The forest reserve line has been moved. We got all the approval,” said the company’s project manager who wanted to be known only as Chai.

Chai said the development area is part of Bukit Cerakah.

The entrance to the construction site which leads to a 1km-long path that has been cleared so far.

He added the government has given approval for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report and other approvals needed to develop 50 acres of land for building houses.

Asked why the company had not met the residents, he said it planned to do so soon.

FMT has contacted the Selangor state government.

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