JOHOR BAHRU: The forestry department has submitted data on encroachment of permanent forest reserves in Johor to the state government.
Johor forestry director Salim Aman said among the worst affected areas was Bekok, Segamat.
“There is encroachment of the forest area, in particularly involving the Orang Asli. Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has ordered the state government to take appropriate action.
“We have updated the data and submitted it to the state government for the next course of action,” he told a press conference in conjunction with the Forest Biodiversity Scientific Expedition seminar at KSL Hotel and Resort here today.
Last month, the Johor forestry department reported that 10 areas in permanent forest reserves had been encroached on by irresponsible parties, turning them into settlement areas, as well as rubber and oil palm plantations.
At the opening of the Johor legislative assembly on March 16, Sultan Ibrahim had proposed that the Orang Asli land in the state be made “sultanate land” to ensure better protection of the land.
The ruler said some of the Orang Asli were being exploited by irresponsible quarters to encroach on their land and carry out illegal activities.
Yesterday, over 200 Orang Asli from Johor held a peaceful protest and handed over a protest note to the menteri besar’s representative about the proposal to categorise Orang Asli land as “sultanate land”.
In another development, Salim said the Panti Forest Reserve in Kota Tinggi would be gazetted as a Wildlife Protection Forest and Research Forest under the Panti Conservation Area (PCA) initiative.
He said the 13,512ha Panti Forest Research would be gazetted under Section 10(1) of the National Forestry Enactment (Adoption) 1985.
“This area will be made a fully protected area and we will gazette and classify it as a wildlife protection forest and also a research forest,” he added.