SHAH ALAM: Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional assemblymen stood as one today to vote on a motion to preserve forest reserves in Selangor.
This happened after Selangor state assembly speaker Ng Suee Lim called for a voice vote today, the last day of sitting.
The motion was tabled by Mohd Najwan Halimi (PH-Kota Anggerik) who said any move to degazette forest reserves should only be done in consultation with residents, stakeholders and professionals.
“Since 2020 the state government had conducted public hearings on the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve after receiving objections from various parties.
“Sijangkang (PAS’ Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi), Banting (DAP’s Lau Weng San), Bukit Lanjan (PKR’s Elizabeth Wong) and I attended the public hearing in September where we protested against the move,” he said, adding seven Orang Asli leaders had filed their objections as well.
The assembly had earlier been told the state government intended to degazette 2,400 hectares of the forest reserve, with 150ha set aside for the Orang Asli community.
Najwan said the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve was home to many endangered animals, such as sun bears and flying squirrels.
“The state government should never neglect its responsibility of maintaining a balance in the ecosystem while developing the state,” he added.
Mohd Imran Tamrin (BN-Sungai Panjang) stood up to support the motion.
“We want to urge the state to be careful in considering forest reserve matters,” he said.
This led to the call for a vote on the motion.
State executive councillor in charge of environment Hee Loy Sian (PH-Kajang) then stood up to say he took note of the stand of the PH and BN assemblymen.
He maintained that no final decision had been made to remove the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve from the gazette and they were still conducting public inquiries.
“I did answer this issue during the question and answer sessions. We made it mandatory for public hearings to be conducted first before any decision can be made (to degazette).
“A decision will be made at the exco meeting,” he said.
Hee also told the assembly that the PH government had successfully increased the size of the forest reserve land to 250,860 hectares and that the figure amounted to 31.6% of the state’s land size.
Previously, federal Environment and Water Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had urged the Selangor government to preserve the reserve to ensure environmental sustainability.
Stakeholders and environmental groups had also raised objections.