IPOH, Feb 7 — Menteri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc) Chief Executive Officer Anuar Zainal Abidin today confirmed that the land clearing near the iconic Kledang hill is indeed illegal encroachment for the purpose of oil palm plantation.
“A check today at the site revealed that the illegal encroachment near Kledang hill, which involves about 10 ha of land includes a part of the land own by MB Inc,” he said in a statement.
Anuar said the check also revealed that oil palm trees were planted on the hillside illegally.
Yesterday, Malay Mail reported about the suspicious land clearing activities in the hill, despite being part of the Kledang-Saiong Forest Reserve.
Lorries and heavy machinery were spotted on the hill located along the Ipoh-Lumut highway near Taman Kledang Emas and there were no notices announcing the purpose of the clearing in the 24ha zone.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman had yesterday said that tree felling in the area could cause mud floods during rainy season, aside from destroying the areas lushness.
Apart from MB Inc land, Anuar said some portion of the state land was also encroached by the illegal oil palm planters.
“However, the State Forestry Department confirms that the affected land which is owned by MB Inc and state government did not fall under the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve and it has never been gazetted as a forest reserve.
“Officers from the Land and Mines Office who was present during the visit today had immediately ordered to stop the work at the site and investigation has been initiated and stern action will be taken against responsible individuals.
“They have also ordered the encroachers to restore the affected area,” he added.
Anuar also said that Forestry Department director Datuk Mohamed Zin Yusop, representatives from Manjoi District and Land Office and police personnel from Ipoh Police District headquarters were also present during the visit today.
Anuar also said that the last time representatives from MB Inc visited the area was on Jan 19 and he said they did not notice any suspicious activities there.
He also said that land own by MB Inc is for the purpose of mixed property project (projek hartanah bercampur) to offer settlements for the people.
Anuar also believes that the encroachment was done to challenge the state government as Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu announced the formation of a special commission to curb the issue of squatters and illegal activities carried out on the state-owned land about 10 days ago.