Selangor government keeps a careful eye on forest reserves

The Selangor Government will only allow forest reserves to be degazetted for activities pertaining to agro-forestry said Selangor environment exco Elizabeth Wong at Selangor assembly sitting today.

Argo-forestry is agriculture incorporating the cultivation and conservation of trees.

In reply to a question posed by Gan Pei Nee (PKR-Rawang) , Wong said the state has frozen the permit to degazette forest reserve for agricultural use since late 2008 as it contradicts with the concept of sustainable forest management.

She said a total of 7,402 hectares of forest reserve was degazetted between year 2000 and 2008, most of them for commercial development.

The four main forests encroached were Bukit Cherakah, Hulu Langat, Sungai Buloh and Ayer Hitam forest reserves.

“Most of the degazetted lands were given to government-link companies, such as PKNS, Yayasan Selangor and PKPS,” she said.

To prevent future encroachment of forest reserves, Wong said any attempt at degazetting them will now require consent from the residents living in the vicinity of the area through public hearing.

She also ensured that the construction of new crematory will not touch on forests, as the state planning department will carefully select its location.

“Ideally the location of a crematorium should be easily accessible and not somewhere in a forest,” she said.