Letter Sent to Perak Mentri Besar Urging a Stop to Deforestation and Habitat Clearing

On 24th June 2022, the Malaysian Nature Society(Perak Branch)(MNS Perak) sent a letter to the Perak MB as deforestation and habitat clearing are found to be on-going in the country and Perak, despite the issues of biodiversity loss, climate change and food security. The forests and habitat referred to include forest reserves, Central Forest Spine(CFS) complexes and CFS ecological linkages(corridors). Many projects such as plantations, mining and roads, have been approved involving the above sensitive and critical areas. Forest reserves have also been revoked to make way for projects. Even wildlife reserves are not safe from revocation, where the first one in Peninsular Malaysia, namely Chior Game/Wildlife Reserve in Perak, has been much revoked until recent years. In the letter, it was mentioned that Malaysia is one of 17 mega biodiversity countries. However, with the ever-on-going deforestation and habitat loss, biodiversity loss and extinction are also occurring at an increasing rate.

An example given in the letter was concerning the Malayan Tiger, where the National Tiger Action Plan (NTAP) 2008-2020 was adopted many years ago. In year 2008, the estimated tigers in the wild in Malaysia was less than 500 and under the NTAP, the main aim was to increase the number to 1000 by 2020. Unfortunately, the plan failed, and  instead of the tiger population increasing, it has kept decreasing each year with the estimate for this year being less than 150 (120 to 80 to be more precise). Among the reasons for the failure is due to forest and habitat loss, especially in forest reserves and CFS.

MNS Perak Branch expressed disappointment that despite the frequent changes in government, especially the state, deforestation continues at an alarming rate. This is despite the frequent articles in the media etc. about the negative effects such as biodiversity loss and climate change.

MNS Perak also feels upset with the way the issue of the  2161 hectare Lanthanide mining project in Hulu Perak district is being addressed. The area used to be protected and is still surrounded by forest reserves, located within the CFS complex as well as ecological linkages and environmentally sensitive area (ESA) of rank 1 (most sensitive). However, the MB appeared to be less sensitive and caring and keeps giving excuses and is more in favour for the mining to proceed, instead of healing the damage that had been and would be done in the area.

Also mentioned in the letter was the fact that there are some rulers and royalty who are more sensitive and appreciate nature and the environment better than most state government leaders. For example, HRH Sultan of Perak, is knowledgeable about nature and environmental issues, and has also been quoted numerous times in the media stating that nature and the environment must be conserved and taken care of. HRH Raja Di-Hilir Perak is another nature loving royal, especially for birds. He has advocated for the Royal Perak Golf Club to be declared as a bird sanctuary. Additionally, he visits protected and conservation areas such as Royal Belum State Park and spends time there studying nature. The latest news is HRH Crown Prince of Pahang pledging to save the Malayan Tiger in Pahang.

As closing remarks in the letter, Perak MNS  urged the administration of the Perak Mentri Besar to implement the following proposals immediately:

  1.         No longer approving projects like plantations, mining, roads and the like in forest reserves, CFS complex as well as ecological linkage and other sensitive habitat/areas such as salt lick, areas bordering wildlife reserve/sanctuary and state parks;
  2.       No more forest reserve, wildlife reserve/sanctuary and other protected areas being revoked.

by Robert Percival / Perak Branch of the Malaysian Nature Society

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