43,502 objections of de-gazettement of the forest reserve summited to Selangor Menteri Besar Office, ExCO of Environment, Green Technology, STI and Consumer Affairs Office, and Selangor State Forestry Office

Press Release                         5 MARCH 2020

The Selangor State Government through the Selangor State Forestry Department had placed a notice inviting stakeholders in the Kuala Langat district to voice their objections to the proposed de-gazettement of 930.93 hectares of Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR) within 30 days.

Responding to the notice, the Coalition for the Protection of Selangor’s Forests comprising of seven environmental and social NGOs actively collected objections from the public and local residents of Kuala Langat district in the form of online petitions, petition forms, objection letters and emails. In 20 days, the Coalition collected a total of 43,502 objections, consisting of 14,422 individual objection letters and 29,080 signatures from the coalition's online petition.  These objections  were submitted to the Selangor Menteri Besar's Office, Y.B. Tuan Hee Loy Sian, Committee Chairman of Environment, Green Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and Consumer Affairs Office, and the Selangor State Forestry Department yesterday at 2.30 p.m. In addition, the coalition of Orang Asli communities from four villagers submitted their objections to the proposed de-gazettement on February 26, 2020.  

In response to a statement by Y.B. Tuan Hee Loy Sian today that no extension will be given to objection of KLFNR de-gazettement, Leela Panikkar from TrEES said, “The notice was only published once on two local newspapers.  The sudden notice and short one-month period given for the stakeholders to submit their objections shocked us. Most of the local people in Kuala Langat District were not aware of the announcement but many signed objection letters when informed of the proposed de-gazettement.  This notice is something new to the local residents of Kuala Langat. The information provided in the proposed de-gazettement notice is not comprehensive and does not facilitate public understanding. Hence, the one-month notice is too short.   The State Government has now refused to extend the deadline and has only acknowledged the receipt of 13,000 objections. However, the coalition submitted 43,502 objections collected from residents of Kuala Langat and the public to the Selangor State Government yesterday. ”

Faizal Parish, Director of GEC said, “We need an extension period to submit the objections. The thirty days given to make detailed objections to such a major proposed development is too short especially when the State Government does not to be aware about the real value of the Forest Reserve. It takes time to develop proper documentation of the real value of the forest and adequately consult the local community.

The Friends of Kuala Langat North Peat Swamp Forest comprising of Orang Asli communities living near the forest have been working with the Selangor State Forestry Department and other organisations to carry out rehabilitation and conservation activities of the area since 2015. They have planted more than 10,000 trees, blocked drainage canals and supported natural regeneration. As a result, the forest is recovering well in more than 300ha of the forest reserve, which was earlier affected by fires. The statement by the State Government that the forest is always burning is not correct. Thanks to the Orang Asli community, there has been only one fire incident in the past five years.”

The Coalition had sent an official letter on February 27, 2020 requesting for an extension period of objection from Selangor State Government as stated under Rule 8 (3) of the Public Inquiry (Selangor) Rules 2014  that allows for an extension. It states the period under Sub Rule (2) may be extended once by the Director not more than thirty (30) days on application of any person before the expiry period.

Faizal further continues, “KLNFR is of national interest. The objection of the de-gazettement should not be limited to Kuala Langat residents only. The district of Sepang is less than 20 metres away from the forest reserve but the residents in Sepang are unable to participate in the objection. It is the same for Klang district, which is approximately 5 kilometres from the forest reserve. KLNFR is a priceless state resource. Everyone from Selangor should have a say on the State’s proposal.

Besides being environmentally sensitive, the forest reserve is also home to the life and culture of Temuan Orang Asli communities that have lived in the area for hundreds of years with the earliest photographic documentation found in 1886. Degazettement of the land is robbing their rights to use the forest that was incorporated into the Gazettement Notice for the forest reserve in 1927. KLNFR is also home to rare, endemic and endangered species of flora and fauna. Taking away the wildlife habitat will remove their home and potentially raise human and animal conflicts.”

KLNFR also plays an important role in mitigating climate change. It has the capacity to store carbon up to 1,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare. The total stored stock capacity of KLNFR is approximately 1,500,000 tonnes of C. An estimated 5.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can also be avoided if the KLNFR is not developed and maintained as a Permanent Reserved Forest.

KLNFR is an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA/KSAS) - Rank 1 under the Third National Physical Plan (RFN-3) and Disaster Risk KSAS under Development Goal Policy 16 (MP16) in the Selangor State Structure Plan 2035 (RSN). It is also designated as a conservation area under the recently gazetted Local Plan for Kuala Langat District.  Under these plans, no development is allowed in Environmentally Sensitive Areas Rank 1 – to avoid serious environmental, economic and social impacts

The proposed de-gazettement of KLNFR is also not in line with the National Action Plan for Peatlands (2011-2020), the National Policy on  Biological Diversity (2016-2025), the Land Conservation Act 1960 (Act 385) related to conservation and protection of environmental resources as well as Malaysia’s obligations under international agreements and conventions.

 

END

About the Coalition for the Protection of Selangor’s Forests

The coalition of seven environmental organisations was formed due to our concern that Selangor is going to lose a very important peat swamp forest reserve that is rich in biodiversity and home to indigenous communities.  The coalition advocates for the protection and conservation of forests in Selangor by working abreast with alliances, allies and networks to highlight the global importance of forest ecosystems and biodiversity for climate control and natural sustainability. The coalition also promotes respect for the rights and identity of indigenous communities that have been coexisting with the forests in Malaysia.

For more info about the Coalition, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/Coalition-for-the-Protection-of-Selangors-Forests-102562088005138/

Members of the Coalition are:

  • Center for Orang Asli Concerns Malaysia (COAC)
  • Global Environment Centre (GEC)
  • GRASS Malaysia
  • Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (KUASA)
  • Malaysian Nature Society (MNS)
  • Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)
  • Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES)

 

For more information/media enquiries, please contact:

 

  1. Global Environment Centre (GEC):

Nagarajan Rengasamy           -     nagarajan@gec.org.my                         012-296 8434

Shafinaz Shabudin                   -     shafinaz@gec.org.my                              012 513 5495

 

  1. Malaysian Nature Society (MNS):

Lee Ee Ling  -    lee_eeling@yahoo.com                                                          016-965 3317

 

  1. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM):

Mageswari Sangaralingam   - foemalaysia@gmail.com

 

  1. Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES):

Leela Panikkar  -   treateveryenvironmentspecial@gmail.com             012 391 2521

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