IPOH (Dec 7): The Perak government has issued a stop work order pending investigation into land clearing on the fringe of the world-renowned Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve in Kuala Sepetang, Perak, according to Kuala Sepetang assemblyman Chua Yee Ling (pictured).
The PKR representative said she had been notified by Perak Tourism chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi.
“However, sadly, the plot of land already cleared will need 30 years for new mangrove trees to grow,” she said in a statement today.
Chua said she was relieved by the immediate action taken, in response to her open letter to Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir last week.
She had questioned the state’s approval for development taking place on land bordering the forest reserve known internationally as the “best managed mangrove forest in the world.”
She said checks at the district office revealed that 10 land plots in the area were approved for clearing but she was in the dark over the matter while she was attending the state assembly sitting in Ipoh last month.
She urged the authorities to present their investigation findings transparently, as well as to include solutions for Kampung Baru residents in the vicinity, who were facing uncertainty over their land titles in an area supposedly marked for a planned village scheme, or Kampung Tersusun.
Chua had previously stated that the area, formerly Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Bhd reserve land, was gazetted as protected and permanent forest reserve in the local structural development plan.
However, the land clearing approvals, less than 100m from the Forestry Department’s Eco Tourism Centre, a popular tourist destination, were given to outsiders instead of the villagers nearby, who had applied for housing lots.
“Most of the villagers in Kampung Menteri and Kampung Baru Kuala Sepetang were not even aware of the Kampung Tersusun plan.”
She said some people in Kampung Menteri had claimed their previous applications for housing in the area were rejected with the excuse that the land belonged to KTM Bhd and that it was designated forest reserve land.
“Some of the villagers have been living there for more than three generations yet continue to suffer the uncertainty of only having a temporary occupying licence (TOL).
“If there really is a Kampung Tersusun plan, why have the local villagers not been given the priority for a land title? This question should be answered in the investigation report,” she said. — The Malaysian Insider