PETALING JAYA: An environmental group has urged the relevant authorities to halt all ongoing construction work and permanently abandon future developments around Genting Highlands after the Batang Kali landslide tragedy.
In a statement, Rimba Disclosure Project, an initiative that monitors Malaysia’s forests, said several projects, some of which are currently under construction, were located on environmentally sensitive land covering about 5,700ha.
It said this involved 5,000ha for the Rancangan Kawasan Khas Bentong, Rancangan Kawasan Khas Genting (316ha), the Tropicana Windcity development (248.7ha), LBS Bina (125ha), and the ongoing Pavilion Genting project (14.5ha).
Rimba Disclosure said it was appalled that the local government had approved development on these lands when regulations under the environment department stated that no development, agriculture or logging should be permitted except for low-impact nature tourism, research and education on environmentally sensitive land.
It said the authorities and government agencies and departments should instead focus on reforestation efforts in these areas.
Separately, Bentong MP Young Syefura Othman urged the Pahang state government to review all development projects on hillsides to prevent further tragedies from landslides.
She also called on tourist spot operators, especially those whose businesses were located on hillsides, to be vigilant, take precautionary measures and immediately report to the authorities if they noticed any signs of potential landslides.
A landslide occurred early yesterday morning at the Father’s Organic Farm campsite near the Batang Kali-Genting Highlands road.
Based on the campsite operator’s visitor registration record, there were 94 campers at the site during the landslide, in which 61 people survived.
The death toll so far is 21, with 12 people still missing. Search and rescue operations are ongoing.