1 October 2022
Press statement by MCA Selangor Youth Chief Chan Wun Hoong
Spirit of the law sawn when letter of the law exploited to legitimise deforestation: Exco Hee Loy Sian should be sacked for incompetence
After my earlier response and public outrage following Malaysiakini’s report that 27 new quarries would be opened in Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve in Selangor, Exco for Tourism, Environment, Green Technology and Orang Asli Affairs Hee Loy Sian has finally responded. He confirmed that around 28 percent of the Bukit Lagong forest reserve is set to be quarried without the land being excised from the reserve. He added that “all approvals for the quarries were issued in the form of minor licences according to Section 28 of the National Forestry Act (Adoption) Enactment 1985” whereby “the status of the land remains as a forest reserve (Malaysiakini, 30 Sept 2022).”
How could the Pakatan-helmed Selangor state government persist with its development plans which destroys forest reserves, the natural ecosystem, and the Orang Asli’s homes, water sources, farming and health? Despite his responsibility to protect the environment and the Orang Asli, Exco Hee paradoxically even defends the Selangor state administration’s mission. Hence, does Exco Hee prioritise environment conservation and safeguard indigenous groups or environment destruction and eviction of the Orang Asli?
Despite his environment and Orang Asli portfolio, Exco Hee has become an accomplice of the Selangor state administration on depleting green enclaves. Implacable towards public objections to the project, he only plays an official role. He should be taken to task as to whether such sticking to the letter of the law adheres to the spirit of the law, and, sacked for incompetence.
Covering 887 hectares or 1,657 football fields for the quarrying project, is it reasonable to massacre the natural environment which will leave adverse impacts on the entire ecosystem and displace the indigenous villagers?
The quarrying plan will cause Selangor and Klang Valley to lose its green lungs and strip the forest’s function as a ‘sponge’ whenever it rains. Without the trees and their roots to prevent water flowing to rivers and drains, flooding will inevitably intensify, threatening people’s property and even their lives. Hence, are the development plans reasonable?
1 year logging by Pakatan = 8 years logging by BN
Even more shocking: The quarry area approved by the Pakatan Harapan Selangor state government in just one year is four times the size of the quarries approved by the previous Barisan Nasional government in eight years.
Hee explained that there were seven existing quarries which were approved by the state government between 1992 and 2000 (under the Barisan Nasional government), spanning 215.64 hectares. Approvals for 19 new quarries measuring 800.5 hectares were issued between 2018 and 2019 (under the Pakatan government).
In comparison, the quarry sites approved by the Pakatan Harapan Selangor state government in just one year is equivalent to the quarry sites approved by the Barisan Nasional for eight years in Selangor thereby cementing the fact that Pakatan helming Selangor extinguishes the environment.