Eight demands to Selangor authorities on Bukit Lagong quarries – Rimba Disclosure Project

Eight demands to Selangor authorities on Bukit Lagong quarries – Rimba Disclosure Project

State exco Hee Loy Sian must address issues on project in 800ha of forest reserve land

THE Rimba Disclosure Project and the undersigned would like to respond to the media statement entitled “Mengenai isu kuari di Hutan Simpan Bukit Lagong” (regarding the issue of quarries at Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve), released by the office of Selangor executive councillor Hee Loy Sian on September 29, 2022.

While we thank Hee for his initial response, many questions remain. In line with our right to information regarding activities within forest reserves, we demand the Selangor authorities address our following eight demands:

1. In Hee’s response, he states that all quarry approvals were processed following established procedures.

Please explain in detail what exactly these procedures are. Who decided that over 800ha of Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve could be parcelled out, and how were these 27 companies chosen? Further, why was an earlier freedom of information request to get clarification about quarrying in Bukit Lagong rejected under the pretext that such information is protected under the Official Secrets Act?

2. Hee stated that the quarries were approved as Minor Licences under Section 28 of the (Adoption) (Amendment) Selangor Forestry Act 1985.

According to the act, however, all minor licences expire at the end of the calendar year in which they commence, and they can only be renewed for a six-month period. Therefore, since Hee said that these were approved in 2019, kindly clarify if these licences have been renewed?

3. We understand the need to keep up with sustained demand for granite.

However, what were the processes, such as a cost-benefit analysis, which allowed more than 800ha of intact primary forest within a forest reserve to be chosen as the “sacrifice zone” for quarrying?

4. Hee explained that all quarrying operations in forest reserves are in compliance with conditions that have been set by technical departments such as the Minerals and Geosciences Department, Environment Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Department, as well as local authorities before and during the quarrying operation. Further, he reaffirms that environmental impact assessments are mandatory.

However, this is a question of more than 800ha of intact primary forest being threatened. In the past, projects which adhere to existing environmental regulations did not stop the clearance of forests as part of those projects.

Therefore, how will adherence with these environmental regulations have any impact on the fact that more than 800ha of forest is going to be cleared and the ground beneath it blown up?

5. Hee claims that these quarries will not impact Orang Asli villages.

Under what basis was this statement made, when research by MalaysiaKini shows that even the existing quarries are already causing negative impacts to Kg Orang Asli Kuang, such as damage to homes from blasting? Further, MalaysiaKini found that the Orang Asli are objecting to the new planned quarries as they are concerned that it will impact their customary properties, potentially pollute Sg Kuang, which is their primary water source, and exacerbate flooding.

Therefore, did the Selangor authorities conduct mapping of the customary boundaries of the Orang Asli kampungs around Bukit Lagong before parcelling their land out to private companies? Did the authorities adhere to international law by practising the principle of free, prior, informed consent, enshrined by the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – of which Malaysia is a signatory to – in the process of approving these quarries?

Were the Orang Asli consulted at all during this process? How do these quarry approvals recognise the Orang Asli’s right to their tanah adat (customary land)?

6. Hee says that the area of forest reserves in Selangor from 2008 until now has increased by 3.5%, which is from 241,568.30ha in 2008 to 250,250.33ha in 2021, an increase of 6,862ha.

While this may be true, it is simply a matter of shifting numbers around on paper and forest reserves have no correlation with actual natural forest cover on the ground. For example, over 2,400ha of Bukit Tarek Forest Reserve is actually a rubber plantation, and vast swathes of the South Kuala Langat, Sg Karang, and Raja Musa forest reserves have been encroached on and converted to plantations.

Further, by not degazetting the quarry lands, the Selangor government in the future will be counting more than 800ha of bare granite as a forest reserve, which is illogical. With these planned quarries, regardless of the legal classification of land, the reality is that natural forest cover is being lost.

Therefore, how does Hee’s statement that forest reserves have expanded correlate with the fact that real-world forest cover is reducing, and how many hectares of Selangor’s forest reserves are actually natural forest cover?

7. Quarries technically fall under the natural resources, and not environmental, portfolio.

Hee’s portfolio covers environmental matters. However natural resources fall under the menteri besar’s portfolio. Therefore, we hope the Selangor menteri besar will make a statement on this issue in the future.

8. The Rimba Disclosure Project questions why these quarry plans were never publicly announced, and laments the fact that we had to be the ones to inform the public on your behalf. We demand the Selangor authorities list down all other approvals of projects within forest reserves.

Additionally, the Rimba Disclosure Project would like to point out that, based on our data, 1286ha of forests, both in reserves and state-land forests, have been cleared in Selangor between 2017 and 2021. Also, in the past year alone, we have found that a further 270ha of agricultural projects have been approved in the South Kuala Langat, Sungai Karang and Rantau Panjang forest reserves, and an additional 3732ha of forests in Selangor are under immediate threat

Finally, we never suggested that the Selangor Forestry Department itself had any direct connections with the EdgeProp listing. However, we do question the legality of openly selling forest reserve land and licences on an online platform. – The Vibes, October 2, 2022

The Rimba Disclosure Project is an independent, non-political forest monitoring watchdog which aims to create transparency by being a centralised source of data and investigations on forest loss in Malaysia

This statement is endorsed by:

1. Rimba Disclosure Project
2. Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (Peka)
3. Greenpeace Malaysia
4. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
5. Shaq Koyok (Orang Asli activist)
6. Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa)
7. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
8. Centre for Orang Asli Concerns
9. Malaysian Nature Society Selangor Branch
10. Persatuan Tindakan Alam Sekitar Kuala Langat
11. Treat Every Environment Special Sdn Bhd
12. Sustainable Development Network Malaysia
13. Pertubuhan Alam Sekitar Sejahtera Malaysia (Grass Malaysia)
14. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak)
15. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim)
16. SAVE Rivers

hipz.my

CATEGORIES
Share This

COMMENTS

Wordpress (0)
Disqus (0 )