IPOH, April 1 — The Perak government’s plans to open a fifth state park at Segari Melintang in Lumut may not happen after all as the Malaysian Armed Forces reportedly wants to use it as a training ground for its artillery unit.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said he found out about the new plan during a meeting with the Forestry Department last week.
Meor Razak said the Armed Forces had requested to use a 10ha site at Pasir Panjang in Segari Melintang.
However, he claimed the training area would cover as much as 80ha until Teluk Senangin.
He said a representative from the Armed Forces had made a formal request to the Forestry Department for the 10ha site last month.
It was learned that the state government had also agreed to its request.
Expressing his disappointment with the latest development, Meor Razak said Segari Melintang was classified as Environmentally Sensitive Area Rank 1 in the National Physical Plan because it is a major turtle landing area, especially for the green turtle.
“If it’s Environmentally Sensitive Area Rank 1, only low-impact activities such as camping or hiking are allowed. But if it is used for training, heavy machinery will be placed in the area and destroy the ecosystem there,” he added.
Meor Razak urged the state government to follow the National Physical Plan’s guideline.
“If the area had been classified for conservation, why change it to something else? This latest development has hampered the plan to turn the area into a state park,” he added.
Last July, Malay Mail reported the Segari Melintang State Park had received the approval of Perak ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah and is set to cover Pantai Pasir Pandak-Pantai Tanjung Batu, Segari Melintang Forest Reserve and Tanjung Hantu Forest Reserve or about 3,000ha.
Currently, there are four state parks in Perak: Royal Belum, Pulau Sembilan, Taman Alam Kinta and Geopark Kinta.