But they do want it turned into a permanent forest reserve area.
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“We don’t own the deforested land, ” says the Pahang Forestry Department after being implicated in a viral social media campaign highlighting the level of environmental degradation happening in Malaysia.
Netizens had recently voiced their concern and disappointment when images of a hillside which had been cleared of trees located next to the Kuantan District Forest Department spread online.
Missing forest isn’t ours, says Pahang Forestry Department
Following this, Pahang Forestry Department Director Datuk Mohd Hizamri Mohd Yassin came to clarify that the deforested land, which he said was around 20 hectares in size, was part of two privately owned lots located outside the Bukit Galing Forest Reserve.
The Bukit Galing Forest Reserve is a small patch of green located within Pahang’s state capital. The area is a popular tourist destination attracting adventure sneakers who lavish in the area’s natural beauty on the hike up its 296-meter hilltop.
He explained that the department had earlier stepped in to put a stop to mining activities at the location, twice, in 2016 and 2017 after it was found that contractors had committed several environmental offences there.
These offences had included; the illegal dumping of waste soil, digging an unauthorised water reservoir as well as trespassing within the confines of the Bukit Galing Forest Reserve.
Mohd Hizamri said that since then, all mining activities in the area had ceased.
They want the area to be made into a permanent forest reserve
After putting a stop to the illegal activities in the area, the Director said that the department had suggested to the Pahang State Government that the area turned into a permanent forest reserve.
By turning the area into a forest reserve, it can be better managed such as by replanting over the deforested land, thus restoring the area from land erosion and other disasters.Pahang Forestry Department Director Datuk Mohd. Hizamri Mohd. Yassin via Kosmo
Reserved for harvest
In 2020, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail acknowledged that forestry resources still generated revenue for the state and that its estimated 1.55 million hectares of permanent forest reserves remained in ‘stable’ condition.
He confirmed that over 64% of the state’s forest reserves, or an area 999,158 hectares in size, can be logged legally.
Wan Rosdy explained that the remaining 35% or 551,528 hectares of permanent forest reserves in Pahang must remain untouched for ‘certain reasons’ such as it being a sensitive water catchment area.
He also said that Pahang had never committed any logging activities in excess of what had been allowed by the National Land Council’s Annual Felling List (CTT) – translating to the amount of permanent forest reserve area the government had allowed to be cleared, annually.
Typing out trending topics and walking the fine line between deep and dumb.