Selangor announces halt to development plans, will regazette Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve

Trees and plants in the Kuala Langat North forest reserve at Kampung Orang Asli Busut in Banting April 22, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Trees and plants in the Kuala Langat North forest reserve at Kampung Orang Asli Busut in Banting April 22, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — The Selangor state government has today announced that it will stop proposed development plans for a portion of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR).

In a statement, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said this would include cancelling the ownership of the land which was previously transferred to a private company for a mixed-development project.

“Only 104 acres out of a total of 1,326 acres (of the KLNFR) will be degazetted to complete the land ownership to Busut Baru Orang Asli village to resolve issues that have been pending since 2006.

“They were relocated from their original settlement in 1994 for the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) construction,” he said.

This decision comes after a recent halt order the state government issued on plans to degazette 536.7 hectares of the KLNFR which received public objection from both non-governmental organisations and several Selangor assemblymen.

“With that, the Selangor state government will begin the process of regazetting the KLNFR,” said Amirudin.

The KLNFR — made up of reportedly 8,000-year-old forests — was gazetted as a permanent forest reserve covering 7,246.96 hectares back in 1927.

Today, only 957.6 hectares of the green lung is left, with 931.17 hectares of it endangered by the state government’s degazettement proposal.

According to Amirudin, the state government is also taking into consideration alienating a small portion of the area that will remain unoccupied for the East Coast Rail Link alignment.

At the same time, he said the replacement area gazetted as a Permanent Forest Reserve of 1,436 acres in Sungai Panjang, Ampang Pechah and Bukit Broga will retain its status as a Permanent Forest Reserve.

“The state government would like to emphasise that all previous degazettement processes have followed all procedures and provisions as stated in law.

“As a government based on the principle of accountability, the state government will write a letter to the Selangor State Assembly Speaker to convene a meeting of the Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency to answer any issues raised regarding the previous gazetting,” said Amirudin.

Trees in the Kuala Langat North forest reserve at Kampung Orang Asli Busut in Banting April 22, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Trees in the Kuala Langat North forest reserve at Kampung Orang Asli Busut in Banting April 22, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

On August 30, the state government had given a green light to degazette 536.7 hectares of the KLNFR, justifying that the area approved for degazettement is only half of what was previously proposed.

The proposal first surfaced on February 5, 2020, where the Selangor State Forestry Department placed notices of the Selangor state government’s proposal to degazette KLNFR in major newspaper dailies, and calls on stakeholders in the Kuala Langat district to voice objections to the proposal within 30 days.

Despite protest by NGOs and several Selangor assemblymen, as of April 12 this year, the Selangor state government has said that the KLNFR degazettement proposal is still under discussion and it is examining the views of relevant experts such as professors from Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

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