Any occupancy or activity in a cave on government land without permission is a legal offence.
Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad said that trespassing and uncontrolled structure construction activities can lead to safety risks such as the danger of collapse, as limestone caves are sensitive to weather changes.
According to him, the risks not only affect the operators, but also the visitors as besides being a location for religious activities, there are also many who are there for recreational and tourism purposes.
“The State Executive Council Meeting today, among others, featured a briefing from the Lands And Mines Office (PTG) regarding the notices sent to 14 operators of houses of worship in the caves on government land around the Sungai Raya subdistrict (mukim) and Hulu Kinta subdistrict.
“In the briefing, PTG informed that the notices were issued according to Section 425 of National Land Code 1965 based on several factors,” he said in a recent statement.
According to Saarani, the briefing also informed on the occurrence of structure construction works which were increasingly active and carried out without approval. It could lead to safety risks besides destroying the cave, a natural area to be protected.
He explained that the state government needs to take preventive steps to avoid unwanted incidents, taking into consideration the report of critical slope monitoring done by the Department of Mineral and Geoscience Malaysia besides the effects of climate change.
Following that, PTG had held a meeting with the operators of the houses of worship.
“They understand the concern of the state government on safety risks and the necessary control steps that need to be taken.
“Thus, the State Executive Council Meeting today decided to establish a special committee to determine the status of the 14 houses of worship which are located on government land.
“It involves the detailing of terms to be abided by based on occupancy status and determining the control mechanism on any structure and construction which require approval from the local authorities,” the Menteri Besar stated.