Preserving the Reserves: The Land Gazetting of the Perak Forest Reserves

Hutan Simpan Kledang Saiong in Kinta district Perak is slowly being degazetted to make way for logging and industrial activities, causing irreparable damage to the unique habitat of primates as well as ecological disaster to the people in the surrounding area. Despite verbal promises to regazette the forest by the government, it has yet to materialise on any legally binding paper, causing the public to worry about their future.

Reporting & Story:
Hadi Azmi

Editor:
Hadi Azmi

Producer:
Sheril A. Bustaman

Mentors:
R Nadeswaran
Zan Azlee

Produced by Fat Bidin Media.

This story is produced as part of KINIAcademy’s investigative journalism program.

Get the full story at FIJIAsia.

Kiniacademy link: https://www.kiniacademy.com/6503/

New lease of life for barren hill  

By Wicky Lau

CAN a forest decimated in the name of development be recreated? The valuable timber has gone, perhaps used as furniture in a faraway land; the government has collected its revenue; and only barren land remains on the foothill of Kledang Saiong Forest, Bukit Kinta in Ipoh.

It now remains as a standing monument of environmental destruction and wanton deforestation of massive proportions, but there are massive plans for a turnaround.

With all vegetation gone, how could the situation be remedied? Can it be physically done? If there’s a will, there’s a way. The Perak State Development Corporation (Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Perak, (PKNP) has undertaken to correct the wrongs of the past and make use of the mistakes for common good.

In the past, some government officials felt it would be a good source of revenue and re-gazetted the forest reserve and allowed logging – leaving a barren land stretching across 160 hectares. 

But its recently-appointed PKNP Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mohd Ariff bin Yeop Ishak has different plans. He has sought assistance from the state government and the Forestry Department to re-gazette the two plots which had been cleared two years ago as Permanent Forest Reserve.

He hopes that a re-planting exercise can be carried out on both parcels of land with the critical and rare species for the next generation.

He said PKNP will work with experts and NGOs for the replanting and preservation of the re-gazetted forest reserve by planting, naming the trees, and teaching the next generation on environmental issues.

If it works, will it be developed as an eco-tourism attraction and Mohd Ariff’s is steadfast that the area will remain a forest and no physical development will be allowed.

“We may have ecotourism but no physical infrastructure will be built inside the forest. All the hostels and infra will be built on the foothills, but not inside the forest. I don’t want to have any disturbance to the trees.”

He said that the decision of clearing was made by the previous government and management of PKNP and their intentions may have been good at that time.

“Their intention was to clear the area to relocate illegal farmers around Silver Valley Technology Park (SVTP), which was previously called ‘Perak Hi Tech Park’.”

He added that an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and research from the Agriculture Department were conducted, and since there were no objections, the deforestation went ahead.

“Actually, I was a town planner and when we do something at a certain elevation of the hillslopes, the structure will move. Even if the law or policy states that you can do this at a particular degree, you have to spend high costs for maintenance and may have to take risks. It’s not worth it,” he said.

The plan is to re-gazette the barren land first and then start the replanting exercise with rare species of trees. This, Mohd Ariff said, can be done using the revenue which the government receives from the timber from the initial de-gazetting.

The money from the logging will primarily be used to reallocate the farmer quarters from the SVTP area to alternative areas. There are about 120 farmers who have agreed to be moved to Changkat Kinding, and it will be done in phases. Negotiations with others are in progress.

Mohd Ariff said that after the farmers are moved out, the land they have occupied will be part of the technology park, which will be home to mixed-development projects. 

The two parcels of land near the Taman Chepor Sentosa housing estate were cleared in 2019 and residents expressed concerns of their safety.

Earthwork stopped since March 2020 due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) but although there is no logging, residents are concerned with issues such as the risk of landslides or muddy floods in the future, as the bare earth remains unvegetated.

This article was written as part of the Kiniacademy Investigative Journalism program. For more on this story, watch the video at https://fijiasia.com/2021/06/09/preserving-the-reserves-the-land-gazetting-of-the-perak-forest-reserves/

Pushed From National Parks, Forest-Dwellers Defend Land and Customs
08 Apr 2022

Pushed From National Parks, Forest-Dwellers Defend Land and Customs

Trapped in shelters: Domestic workers’ dilemma
25 Mar 2022

Trapped in shelters: Domestic workers’ dilemma

The Women Tree Planters of Sukau
25 Mar 2022

The Women Tree Planters of Sukau

Benefits and Challenges for International Tourists visiting Dili, Timor-Leste
21 Mar 2022

Benefits and Challenges for International Tourists visiting Dili, Timor-Leste

[ Road to Malaysia’s Tourism Recovery Series 3 ] Be prepared and take measures to deal with the new waves of pandemics, Minister of Tourism hopes that gradual reopening of borders
21 Mar 2022

[ Road to Malaysia’s Tourism Recovery Series 3 ] Be prepared and take measures to deal with the new waves of pandemics, Minister of Tourism hopes that gradual reopening of borders

[ Road to Malaysia’s Tourism Recovery Series 1 ] Uncertainty of pandemic hits Malaysia’s tourism recovery, difficult to sustain without opening up for international tourists
18 Mar 2022

[ Road to Malaysia’s Tourism Recovery Series 1 ] Uncertainty of pandemic hits Malaysia’s tourism recovery, difficult to sustain without opening up for international tourists

[ Road to Malaysia’s Tourism Recovery Series 2 ] The industry hopes the government and ASEAN to discuss, Establish more VTLs, Harmonize the cross-border tourism policies of various countries.
18 Mar 2022

[ Road to Malaysia’s Tourism Recovery Series 2 ] The industry hopes the government and ASEAN to discuss, Establish more VTLs, Harmonize the cross-border tourism policies of various countries.

Sabah Community Aims To Regrow Healthy Forests Amid Pandemic
17 Mar 2022

Sabah Community Aims To Regrow Healthy Forests Amid Pandemic

In The Fight for Malaysian Forest, Can Malaysian Activists Replicate A Win?
17 Mar 2022

In The Fight for Malaysian Forest, Can Malaysian Activists Replicate A Win?

Khmer performers emerge from the pandemic with renewed purpose
17 Mar 2022

Khmer performers emerge from the pandemic with renewed purpose

As Cambodia Is Set to Welcome Vaccinated Tourists, Challenges Lie Ahead
17 Mar 2022

As Cambodia Is Set to Welcome Vaccinated Tourists, Challenges Lie Ahead

Under-Protected Abroad, Domestic Workers Find Ways to Resist
17 Mar 2022

Under-Protected Abroad, Domestic Workers Find Ways to Resist

Bounded Amidst Restrictions (Kepepet di Tengah Pengetatan)
17 Mar 2022

Bounded Amidst Restrictions (Kepepet di Tengah Pengetatan)

Philippines, 4 other Asean member-states urged to form coalition in South China Sea
16 Mar 2022

Philippines, 4 other Asean member-states urged to form coalition in South China Sea

The Slow Death of Sungai Langat
11 Aug 2021

The Slow Death of Sungai Langat

Understanding Malaysia’s Affordable Housing Crisis
03 Aug 2021

Understanding Malaysia’s Affordable Housing Crisis

Dead in the Water: Resorts, Sewage & the Underside of Malaysian Tourism
09 Jul 2021

Dead in the Water: Resorts, Sewage & the Underside of Malaysian Tourism

Air dan Selangor: Ada masalah ke?
02 Jul 2021

Air dan Selangor: Ada masalah ke?

Connecting The Dots: One man’s effort in making sense of Malaysia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout
02 Jul 2021

Connecting The Dots: One man’s effort in making sense of Malaysia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Why Aren’t There More Women in Malaysian Sports?
09 Jun 2021

Why Aren’t There More Women in Malaysian Sports?

Leave a Reply