Johor Pakatan urges Putrajaya to look into forest reserve earmarked for logging, oil palm cultivation in Mersing

Tan urged the Johor government to be transparent in handling said proposal. — Pictures by Ben Tan
Tan urged the Johor government to be transparent in handling said proposal. — Pictures by Ben Tan

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JOHOR BARU, Sept 25 — A Johor Pakatan Harapan (PH) leader today urged both the federal and state government to look into a proposed logging and oil palm cultivation involving 2,2454.3 hectares of forest reserve in Mersing, possibly causing environmental impact.

Skudai assemblyman Tan Hong Pin described the matter as serious after it was recently highlighted on social media by social activists.

He urged the Johor government to be transparent in handling the proposal regarding the issue of approval, companies involved and reciprocal benefits received by the administration.

“This takes into account the value of forest reserve resources that cannot be replaced and should be maintained.

“Instead, the government should offer a rational solution to the proposer to utilise the vacant land first in all parts of Johor for the purpose of oil palm cultivation,” said Tan in a statement issued here today.

Tan, who is also the state DAP secretary, said Johor should be free from any activity that disrupt the environment, especially those related to forest reserves.

“I also urge the Environment Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man to disclose to the public the policies of his ministry regarding the exploration of forest reserves for agricultural purposes.

“In addition, he should also ensure that the Department of Environment (DOE) and the Forestry Department take appropriate action in preserving environmental treasures, especially forest reserves in Tenggaroh, Mersing, so as not to be mortgaged for short-term benefits,” said Tan.

On Wednesday, environment activist Sabrina Syed highlighted her concerns on her Facebook regarding the proposed logging and oil palm cultivation involving 2,2454.3 hectares of forest reserve in Mukim Tenggaroh in Mersing.

She also featured a copy of the proposed project’s Terms of Reference Adequacy Check (TORAC) meeting to be held on October 1 in Putrajaya.

From the document, the project is said to be undertaken by Nadi Mesra Sdn Bhd.

Checks by Malay Mail revealed that Nadi Mesra Sdn Bhd is a Kuantan, Pahang headquartered company and was incorporated in 2006. It deals mainly in property investments, timber logging, agricultural and mining activities.

In Febuary last year, it was reported that Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar advised the state to stop issuing logging quotas five years ago and surrendered the quotas issued to him.

He also decreed that enforcement efforts to preserve the forests in Johor must be improved and an action plan must be drafted to protect forests and wildlife.

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