News: Scrap Housing Project in Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve!

Dec 4, 2018


Selangor’s State Executive Council has received a proposal to build a mixed-use residential project spanning 28.3ha within the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve in Gombak, Forestry Department Director Datuk Dr Mohd Puat Dahalan told The Star.

As such, the authorities are holding a 30-day public consultation since 23 November regarding the proposal to degazette a portion of the forest reserve land for the said development.

This is to comply with the Public Inquiry (Selangor) Rules 2014 and the National Forestry Act (Adoption) Enactment 1985, which requires the government to hold a public hearing before a forest reserve can be degazetted.

Notably, the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve measures more than 3,624.1 hectares and is next to the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) in Kepong.

Based on the plans displayed at the Selangor Forestry Department office at Shah Alam, the residential project would be situated on a portion of land sandwiched between two housing areas – Templer Hills and Taman Amansuria.

It is also 2km from the forest reserve’s recreational area of Kampung Orang Asli Bukit Lagong and Taman Rimba Bukit Lagong.

However, Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Selangor Vice Chairman Wong Ee Lynn is strongly urging the state government not to approve the project, and the developer should not be allowed to degazette a part of the Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve.

This is because if the degazettement is permitted it could “encourage” other home builders to purchase land in forest reserves for their developments.

“What then is there to stop further encroachment into the forest? They could reason that there is already existing infrastructure and amenities so it would be easier to build,” she explained.

Previously, the Selangor state government held three prior public consultations regarding the degazettement of forest reserve land since Public Inquiry (Selangor) Rules 2014 was enacted.

One was in 2014 for the degazettement of a 106.65ha part of the Ampang Forest Reserve to make way for the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE).

Another two public hearings were held in 2016 for a 3.4ha portion of the Bukit Cherakah Forest Reserve for the construction of Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH), as well as a 30ha part of the Sungai Puteh North and South Forest Reserves for the Sungai Besi-Ulu Klang Highway (SUKE).
These three road projects are already under construction, but Wong said these will have serious consequences to the state of Selangor.

“The clearing of forests for roads and construction will increase air and water pollution and the risk of soil erosion and landslides. The destruction of watershed areas will affect the entire state’s water supply and quality.”

“The opening up of access roads will create access not only for construction vehicles, but also illegal loggers, poachers and wildlife traffickers,” she added.


Image source: The Star


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