Pressure group Otai Reformis 98 have warned the Selangor government should no action be taken on their memorandum handed yesterday over the degazetting of a precious 2,300 acres of forest reserve in North Kuala Langat.
Otai Reformis 98 secretary general Abdul Razak Ismail said the Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari has been given the notice to reverse the degazetting of the land on which 7 villages orang asli of the Temuan tribe roam and rely on for their livelihoods.
He said this group was ready to form a blockade at the state secretariat in order to get their message through to the state leadership should their calls and objection from the people go unheeded.
“In 1994, the Barisan Nasional state government then had done exactly the same thing when they degazetted 1,000 acres of forest reserve for development. We wish to tell the Menteri Besar, that he must not be so clumsy, because he is breaking the Umno record by twice the size with this degazetting of 2,300 acres of forest reserves,” said Abdul Razak.
“These are lands handed down to the orang asli through generations and they rely on the flora and fauna to survive by gathering wild vegetation and hunting for food. There are 7 villages there and what will happen to all those people?”
The Selangor government have degazetted 2,300 acre plot of forest reserves for a mixed development project and residents have until March 5 to lodge object.
Non-governmental organisations Otai Reformis and the Organisation for Preservation of Natural Heritage Malaysia (PEKA) have each submitted their memorandum to the Selangor government at their headquarters in Shah Alam as they hope to stop the ravaging of what is the state’s final 32 percent of forest cover, which also serves as home to the rare and endangered Selangor pygmy flying squirrel.
Representing PEKA were vice president I Saha Deva and vice president II Sophine Tann.
Neither Amiruddin nor the state executive committee chairman for the environment Hee Loy Sian were present to receive the memorandums, with Selangor Forestry Department director Mohd Ridzuwan Endot accepting on their behalf before swiftly making an exit, avoiding deeper questions from the media on the matter.
Saha said the Selangor pygmy flying squirrel was a rare and endangered species, which was found only in the area.
“Apart from that the federal government have announced their commitment to maintain at least 50 percent of forest cover in the country. The Prime Minister can’t be saying that and then allow some states to be deforested and others to make it up. Selangor as we are, has only 32 percent forest cover,” said Saha.
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