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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Umno Youth leader moots federal takeover of Kuala Langat forest reserve


Umno Youth deputy chief Shahril Hamdan said the federal government should force the Selangor government to hand over the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve in order to preserve it.

He said this can be done under Article 83 of the Federal Constitution, although the federal government would have to pay compensation to the state.

“This would represent an aggressive, last resort. Lawyers can advise every which way.

“But if the menteri besar and exco members don't even listen to their own state assemblypersons in the legislature and voters in public hearings; then as a matter of national interest, something equally outlandish should be considered to save (the forest).

“Yes, it will cost the federal government in compensation to the state, but it would be a big statement of intent. See it as an investment in both heritage and future, albeit a forced one.

“If the state is in it for the money, then take it and leave the forest reserve alone,” he said on Twitter today, after a visit to the area together with the Orang Asli folk from Busut Baru.

The Selangor government had de-gazetted 54 percent (536.7ha) of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve as a permanent reserve in May, but the matter had only come to light during a statement assembly sitting yesterday.

State exco member Hee Loy Sian said the government decided against de-gazetting the whole forest following public objections but maintained that the move was necessary to meet housing needs in the future.

He said the state will also ‘replace’ the reserve by gazetting other parcels of forest in Sungai Panjang, Ampang Pecah, and Broga as reserve areas.

Nevertheless, the explanation failed to appease Pakatan Harapan backbenchers, who urged the government to reverse its decision.

Environmental groups such as the Pertahankan Hutan Simpan Kuala Langat Utara (PHSKLU) coalition has also objected to the de-gazetting, saying that the move lacked transparency and accountability.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said he has asked Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari to explain the state’s move the degazette the forest reserve at a party meeting tomorrow. - Mkini

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