PETALING JAYA: A lawyer for two environmental groups has scoffed at a Selangor state executive councillor’s claim that Bukit Lagong forest reserve would retain its status despite 800 hectares being earmarked for quarrying.
“It’s a disingenuous statement,” said lawyer Rajesh Nagarajan. “When the quarrying is done, the forest will be gone.”
On Thursday, state executive councillor Hee Loy Sian had said 19 new quarries had been approved between 2018 and 2019 to meet the demand for building materials.
However, “the status of the land remains as a forest reserve”, Hee said.
Hee said 28% of the Bukit Lagong forest reserve was developed for quarrying, with seven existing quarries covering 215.64 hectares approved between 1992 and 2000.
Hee’s statement came in the wake of an advertisement for the sale of quarry land lots at the Bukit Lagong forest reserve for RM150,000 an acre. A map purportedly issued by the state forestry department was attached.
Hee said the state forestry department had denied any connection with the advertisement.
Rajesh said Hee should be more forthcoming with information such as the date of environmental approval for the 19 applications, and details on the companies contracted to clear the land.
What would happen to the timber that would be felled, he said. He also asked if the state government would sell the land to the contractors once the quarrying was complete.
Rajesh represents 2 environmental groups which were granted an interim stay order against the Selangor government’s degazettement of a piece of land at Bukit Cherakah forest reserve.
Bukit Lagong forest reserve is half an hour’s drive northwest of Kuala Lumpur and is adjacent to another notable green lung, the Forest Research Institute Malaysia in Kepong.