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PUBLISHED: Feb 26, 2014 3:48pm

‘Degazetting Selangor Park will worsen water shortage’

FORESTRY_NEWHIGHWAY_MAP_25022014_MEDIUM

THE RAKYAT POST By:
KAMINI

The Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road will traverse reserve forests. Environment groups believe the project will have an adverse effect on water catchment areas and endanger the forests.

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26

THE 30-day notice for a public hearing on the proposal to degazette parts of the Selangor State Park (SSP) is too short to seek feedback.

According to the Coalition for the Protection of the Selangor State Park, the effectiveness of the public inquiry was also questionable.

“Selangor is the only state to have provisions for a public inquiry and objection for proposals to degazette forest reserves.

“However, we wonder if it would be just another avenue where concerns will be ‘considered’ but will not change the government’s decision,” says the coalition in a letter to the media earlier today.

A notice published in the New Straits Times’ Classified Section on Feb 14 called for feedback from residents from the surrounding areas. The areas include Ampang, Bukit Seputeh, Ulu Gombak and Ulu Langat Forest Reserves.

They were asked to write in with their grouses to the Selangor Forestry Department on the proposed KLORR (Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road) project that would cut through part of the reserves.

The coalition is comprised of Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES), Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Save Our Sungai Selangor (S.O.S. Selangor) and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia).

It is calling for a more serious approach, as many members of the public and NGOs have voiced their concern over the proposed KLORR project since 2009.

“These included written submissions during the Ampang, Selayang and Kajang Local Plans’ public objection period and the Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA).

“Groups of NGOs have also written to the federal and state governments to appeal that the project does not traverse the park, all to no avail,” states the coalition.

“The proposed KLORR project is unlikely to reduce traffic. However, it is indeed appalling to learn that the proposal has landed at a very crucial period when Selangor is facing a water crisis.

“It is ironic that the proposal to degazette crucial water catchment forests comes at a time when water shortages are being reported in different parts of the Klang Valley. Water levels in the Klang Valley dams are also reported to be dangerously low.”

The degazettement is said to involve 106.55ha of land from 4 forest reserves in Selangor. Two out of the 4 (Ampang and Ulu Gombak) form part of the Selangor State Park (SSP) and are important water catchments for the Klang Valley.

The coalition added that the project was not necessary because the state government already had other plans to improve the public transportation system to reduce traffic woes.

Further cementing their objection, the coalition says: “We can live with traffic jams until the public transportation system improves, but we cannot live without water.

“We, therefore, strongly urge the state government to rescind its plans to allow a highway to traverse through the Selangor State Park.”

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