PETALING JAYA: The Selangor state government risks angering voters living near the Bukit Cherakah Forest Reserve if it does not heed their concerns on the development work there, a group warned.
Green Party Malaysia (GPM) secretary-general Razak Ismail said the attitude of the Selangor state government to the public’s concern could see them being punished in the state polls.
“The state government’s indifference to public protests, especially the local community living around the forest reserve, is most unbecoming.
“The community (who are voters in Kota Anggerik) could potentially reject the Pakatan Harapan candidate in the upcoming state polls as a sign of protest,” he said in a statement.
Razak also reminded menteri besar Amirudin Shari of a stop order he issued to the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS).
Last August, two environmental groups, Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (Peka) and the Shah Alam Community Forest Society (SACF), took the Selangor state government to court over its decision to degazette a 406.22ha site through the implementation of a decision made 22 years ago.
They were also seeking a declaration that a public inquiry must be held in relation to the development of the forest reserve, as stipulated under the National Forestry Act (Amendment) 2011.
However, in November, the Shah Alam High Court threw out the group’s application.
The two NGOs have since filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal. At the same time, SACF has launched a Facebook petition and has gathered 105,000 signatures from the public demanding that the state government not destroy the forest.
Amirudin was previously reported to have said that the state government will continue with the degazettement of Bukit Cherakah Forest Reserve to avoid any risk of legal action by companies with interests in the property.
He added that state subsidiaries that had an interest in the property will be asked to not continue with their development except if it involved public interest, such as the construction of roads or cemeteries.
However, if it involves private companies, his hands are tied, as the state government may end up paying hefty compensations if they are ordered to stop work at the forest.