HULU LANGAT, Aug 19 — Popular hiking site Bukit Broga will be closed for three months, for restoration work following unauthorised encroachment and clearing of land to plant rubber trees.
State tourism, environment, green technology and consumer affairs exco Elizabeth Wong said the closure takes effect immediately.
“The Selangor authorities received complaints from visitors and hikers that the land was damaged at the end of last month. A drone took photographs of Bukit Broga,” she said.
“During a site visit by state assemblymen a fortnight ago, it was found that parts of the hill had been terraced off to plant rubber trees,” she told a press conference at the foot of Bukit Broga yesterday.
The trees were planted by the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) as early as the end of last year, for the economic benefit of the nearby Orang Asli community.
Wong said the department obtained approval from the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) to do so, but never informed the state government.
Both agencies were issued a cease-and-desist letter.
“It was decided during the Selangor Economic Action Council meeting on Wednesday that the public will not be allowed access to the area for any recreational activities while Bukit Broga undergoes restoration work,” she said, adding that both JAKOA and Risda were called to attend the meeting where they were censured and reprimanded for their actions.
Due to the terracing in Bukit Broga and its surrounding area there has been soil erosion, which has also polluted nearby rivers.
Wong said the closure was also meant to protect visitors from falling and injuring themselves while hiking.
The Public Works Department, together with the Hulu Langat Land Office and the Kajang Municipal Council will undertake the restoration, which includes covering the hill’s slopes to halt erosion, constructing a berm drain on the terrace to ensure smoother water flow, and planting signal grass to stop soil erosion.
“The three months will depend on external factors, and Bukit Broga will be monitored from time to time. The total cost of the restoration is estimated at RM1 million, which excludes the construction of a new road to Bukit Broga for visitors,” she said.
In addition the Selangor Economic Action Council agreed to gazette Bukit Broga and 143 hectares of surrounding land from ordinary state-owned land to a public recreational site, providing it with special protection. However 31 acres of land have also been set aside for use by the Orang Asli community.
“The gazetting has already been approved by the state government, and is now being processed by legal officers of the Selangor Economic Action Council,” she said.