Good move to gazette land near Klang Gates Dam as green space: NGOs

Good move to gazette land near Klang Gates Dam as green space: NGOs

Activists applaud S’gor govt intiative to allow free public access to future riverside park

KUALA LUMPUR – Environmentalists and conservationists have applauded the Selangor government’s move to turn the land occupied by Kg Warisan squatters situated next to the Klang Gates Dam into a riverside public park soon.

They described the decision to gazette Taman Warisan under Section 62 of the National Land Code as a green area for recreational purposes as a step in the right direction.

Various stakeholders have stated that such a move will protect the riparian zone and be a gift to the public to enjoy the jungle park at the foot of Bukit Tabur quartz ridge without fees.

However, experts lamented that the state administration should have been proactive in curbing the encroachment from the beginning.

It is estimated that there are 80 families residing in the Kg Warisan settlement at the Sg Klang headstream.

Sustainable living non-governmental organisation EcoKnights vice-president Amlir Ayat said river reserves encroachment should have been nipped in the bud.

“Such activity is increasingly rampant in Selangor recently, including at upstream areas of Hulu Selangor. This could certainly destroy the riparian and aquatic ecosystem but also most importantly the lives of downstream communities,” he said.

Amlir, an expert on community-based ecotourism and wildlife and zoology, urged the authorities to conduct frequent monitoring and enforcement to halt such encroachment before a tragedy happened.

“To enhance this effort, the public should be more motivated to lodge reports on such activity. There is a growing positive trend on this aspect but the awareness should be widened by, for instance, informing them of the disastrous risks of river reserve encroachment,” he explained.

However, he cautioned that the proposed public park should be developed in an ecologically-friendly manner by minimising unnecessary environmental damage to the site.

“Beauty” or “cleanliness”, he said, is relative and should be established from an ecological point of view.

“A park needs to be a worthy experience for its visitors as a learning process about the importance of sustaining the natural environment for our well-being.

“Public awareness should also be strengthened to minimise unethical behaviour such as littering and other types of vandalism,” he said.

Ecological Association Malaysia president Datuk Ahmad Ismail said the rearrangement of settlements would allow eco-tourism and recreational activities to be managed accordingly.

He opined that the areas surrounding the Klang Gates Dam and Bukit Tabur need to be protected in view of the ongoing climate changer threat which includes extreme weather like heavy rain and storms, which may result in floods, landslides, and loss of life and properties.

“The Selangor government needs to identify all important areas such as heritage, nature and historical areas. The protection and conservation of the areas can be applied as tourism and recreation with full consideration of carrying capacity, values and conservation,” said the environmental biologist.

Rehabilitate, conserve and manage

The Friends of Rivers Selangor at Taman Melawati River Three (FoSK TMR3) and Alliance of River Three (ART) have called for a holistic approach to revitalise the river.

“The rehabilitation work must be extensive, not just limited to the river and to just one day a week but every day, engaging multi-stakeholders at the local, state, federal, regional and international level,” said the founder of ART, Kennedy Michael.

“No to any illegal occupation of land especially in environmentally sensitive areas such as the headstream of Sg Klang and we must return to transparency, accountability and responsibility in the management of public assets.”

He pointed out that the green site rehabilitation and preservation should not be under the sole supervision of Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ).

“It must be placed under the care of the Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) and ART. FoSK TMR3 should be entrusted to care for it under a trust to be co-managed by Luas, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, MPAJ and various state agencies as well as the four schools in Taman Melawati,” said the award-winning river conservationist.

He stressed that the objective was to restore Sg Klang headstream to as close as possible to its natural condition in view of years of pollution caused by the settlement and visitors.

“The aim is to protect a precious water resource for immediate and future use for all citizens and for the ecosystem service providers – pollinator agents such as bees, butterflies, dragonflies, birds, bats, benthic life, microbial life, and higher level reptiles, amphibians and mammals that maintains the sensitive balance that keeps the entire Bukit Tabur East and West forests and source springs healthy and alive,” Kennedy explained.

On a contrasting note, the Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia Association (Peka) opined that the settlement at the foot of Bukit Tabur must not be evicted.

“Perhaps the state government can turn Kg Warisan similar to Kg Morten in Malacca and enlist it under heritage status. Just create beautiful kampung houses and build a public park alongside as well,” said Peka president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil.

source – The Vibes

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