PETALING JAYA: Pro-Anwar Ibrahim group Otai Reformis has urged the PKR president to pay more attention to the sustainable management of Selangor’s forests, warning that failure to do so could further affect Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) reputation in the state.
Otai Reformis secretary Abdul Razak Ismail said several environmental NGOs previously suggested that any activity in large-scale forest reserves or in privately owned forests should be discussed and approved in the Selangor legislative assembly.
However, Razak said the group was informed that PH assemblymen did not agree to a motion to table a private member’s bill on the matter.
Selangor is one of the three states controlled by the Anwar-led PH coalition, with the other two being Penang and Negeri Sembilan.
“Looking at the current situation, Otai Reformis doubts the capability and sincerity of the Selangor government to administer forestry affairs in Selangor,” Razak said in a statement.
“We urge (Anwar) to look into this proposal seriously and implement it immediately since the reputation of the state government under Pakatan Harapan has (already) been severely damaged due to the Kuala Langat North forest reserve incident.”
He was referring to the degazettement of some 526ha of the forest reserve last year, a move which came under fire from Orang Asli communities, Selangor elected representatives, environmental NGOs and the public.
Menteri besar Amirudin Shari, who is also a PKR vice-president, has promised to regazette the area.
Razak also noted that there have been plans to develop parts of six forest reserves in Selangor over the past two years.
Apart from the Kuala Langat North forest reserve, he said, the others are the Kuala Langat South forest reserve, the Bukit Cherakah forest reserve, the Bukit Lagong forest reserve, the Hulu Selangor-Genting Highland border forest and the Sungai Panjang peat swamp forest in Sabak Bernam.
He said Otai Reformis lodged a formal complaint with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) earlier this month after alleging that the Selangor government had abused its power by granting companies approval to open 27 quarries at the Bukit Lagong forest reserve.
“We fear that without the monitoring of economic activities and development in Selangor’s forests, there will be no more forests in Selangor one day,” he said.