Report claims clash of interests behind controversial plan to degazette Kuala Langat reserve

The entrance to the Kuala Langat reserves forest at Kampung Orang Asli Busut Baru in Banting February 20, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
The entrance to the Kuala Langat reserves forest at Kampung Orang Asli Busut Baru in Banting February 20, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 ― Singapore’s Straits Times (ST) reported yesterday that the Selangor government is facing a clash of interests over its controversial attempt to degazzette the Kuala Langat (North) Forest Reserve, despite facing intense criticism.

Quoting an anonymous official source, ST reported that the company set to develop the over 930ha land if Selangor succeeds in degazetting it is linked to the state’s royal family ― Titian Jutaria Sdn Bhd.

ST’s review with Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) showed that the two directors of the company are Tengku Amir Shah, the crown prince and son of Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, and the state ruler's nephew, Syed Budriz Putra Jamalullail.

The company’s shares are divided between one “Sultan Idris Shah” who holds 40 per cent of the stake, with Syed Budriz owning the remaining 60 per cent.

In its SSM record, Titian Jutaria listed its nature of business as “property development and construction”.

An independent check by Malay Mail with SSM confirmed the details behind Titian Jutaria. Titian Jutaria has yet to issue any official response.

According to the report, Titian Jutaria will develope some 566.56 ha of land while the remaining 364ha will be owned and developed by state-linked company Menteri Besar Inc (MBI).

However, ST did not explain the nature of the development.

Yesterday, Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) denied that the move was for the Selangor Business Capital mega-business park, explaining that the project is planned for the Selangor Cyber Valley in Cyberjaya instead.

Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari had previously defended the move to degazette the forest reserve, claiming that 40 per cent of the area has become “degraded” due to fires and damages and is no longer the virgin forest it used to be.

Amirudin also pledged to replace the degazetted forests with a “bigger area of forest” of “better quality” at more than 1,092 ha compared to the 930.93 ha that it wants to degazette.

In his explanation, Amirudin also said the move will also benefit other developments around the area and to stimulate the economies and industries in the East Coast states, especially as the planned East Coast Rail Link route (ECRL) will go around the forest reserve.

The Selangor state’s proposal to develop 930.93 acres of the 958 acre forest reserve was met with stern opposition from the Orang Asli community who resides near the reserve, and environmentalists.

The Selangor Forestry Department had placed the notice of the proposed degazetting in major newspapers on February 5, inviting stakeholders in the district to voice their objections within 30 days.

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