IPOH, May 30 ― The Perak state government has been urged to suspend the logging concessionaire at Air Cepam Forest Reserve following issues raised by the Orang Asli community.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said this was because the concessionaire has failed to conduct a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) at Tasek Cunex Orang Asli village in Gerik prior to begin logging.
“Conducting the SIA is a pre-requisite for the Malaysia Certification and Indicator in the event logging is conducted using the Selective Management System (SMS),” he said, noting that logging in Air Cepam Forest Reserve was carried out under SMS.
According to the Malaysian Timber Council, under the SMS system, forestry activities are categorised into three stages, namely pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting.
The Forest Manager’s role is to ensure that all the criteria are fulfilled by concessionaires in an effort to maintain the quality of forests designated as Permanent Reserve Forest, before, during and after logging.
During a visit by SAM with several NGOs including fellow environmentalist group KUASA to the village recently, the concessionaire was found to have failed to follow the guidelines and specifications set by the Forestry Department.
“The concessionaire just placed two rotting logs to mark the point of creeks that can block the flow of water during heavy rain,” he said, adding that this will lead to erosion and sedimentation which will then lead to ecosystem disturbance.
Meor Razak also pointed out that there were no silt traps in the logging area.
“The concessionaire just left behind remnants of trees at river banks, which will affect the flow of water,” he added.
Malay Mail had reported on May 16 that the Perak state government had given the green light to authorities to remove a blockade.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said the state decided to take action after scrutinising all complaints as well as weighing legal considerations.