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    ‘Don’t ruin Kledang Saiong’


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    IPOH: A warning has been issued by an environmental activist regarding the negative impact of planting only a few tree species in the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve in Kuala Kangsar. Hafizuddin Nasarudin, president of the Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa), criticized the forest plantation project for driving away wildlife and potentially causing conflicts between animals and humans. He emphasized that such an approach is detrimental to the biodiversity of the area and urged the cancellation of the project.

    During a press conference held by the Save Kledang Saiong Forest Network, Hafizuddin handed over a memorandum to Rahim Nawawi, the special officer to the Perak Mentri Besar, at the State Secretariat building in Ipoh. His aim is to preserve a vibrant forest filled with diverse species and to mitigate the adverse effects of deforestation, such as flash floods and soil erosion. Furthermore, he highlighted that he had visited the forest reserve and observed that it still possessed a significant number of trees and a thriving habitat for various animals.

    This issue gained attention after eight non-governmental organizations (NGOs) submitted a memorandum to the Perak Sultan’s office on February 17. The NGOs requested the intervention of Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah to ensure compliance with the decision made at the 79th National Land Council meeting, which called for a 15-year moratorium on new forest plantations in permanent forest reserves on the peninsula. In response, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad claimed that the project’s approval adheres to regulations and clarified that the Forest Plantation Development Zone encompasses a total area of 100,000ha, with the actual project size reduced to approximately 32,000ha.

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    Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman, a field officer from Sahabat Alam Malaysia, expressed concerns regarding the plantation project’s choice of tree species. He revealed that eucalyptus and rubber trees are planned to be planted, with the intent to harvest latex from the rubber trees for 20 years before felling them for logs. Additionally, non-native eucalyptus trees will be harvested for their wood. Meor Razak criticized the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report published in December for lacking a comprehensive overview of the project’s implications. He stressed the need for a socio-economic impact assessment, which includes gathering the perspectives of local communities, especially the Orang Asli indigenous people. Meor also warned about the pollution of rivers and tributaries resulting from land clearing.

    Understandably, concerns regarding forest management have been raised due to the scale of the project, which is comparable to the size of a township. Meor urged the state government to prioritize effective forest management practices and suggested that a public hearing be conducted to address public concerns. In response, Saarani assured that the state government will adhere to the recommendations of the Department of Environment (DOE). If the DOE determines that the project complies with the EIA, it will proceed; otherwise, it will be canceled. Saarani emphasized the state government’s recognition of the expertise of the DOE in making informed decisions about environmental impact.

    Credit: The Star : News Feed

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