By Luqman Hakim

Environmental group, Lapangan Sahabat Alam Malaysia’s spokesperson, Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman, urged the state government to cease all forest-farming projects involving an area of 400 hectares within the Bukit Kinta Forest Reserve and the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve.

He too pushed for the immediate restoration of the denuded 10-hectare Kledang hillside caused by illegal logging activity. The affected forest, he reasoned, should be returned to its original status.

"Residents of Menglembu, Falim and Buntong frequent the place for recreational purposes. There was a waterfall back in the 1980s, the state government then promised to turn it into a recreational spot.

He urged the state government to preserve the forested area in view of the establishment of the Kinta Valley Geopark as proclaimed by HRH Sultan Nazrin Shah last year.

He questioned plans by the authorities to lease parcels of the forest reserve for commerce.

President of Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa), Mohamad Hafizudin Mohd Nasarudin said that the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve supports a thriving eco-system consisting of many plants and animals endemic to the area.

He warned that the forest-development project near the Ulu Geruntum Orang Asli settlement would affect the community's livelihood as their food and water sources would be curtailed.

“These projects should be cancelled or moved to other less sensitive areas such as abandoned government lands," he told reporters during a peaceful demonstration at the entrance of the State Secretariat Building, Ipoh on Tuesday, April 30.

Present were over 100 participants made up of 19 NGOs and the Orang Asli community. A memorandum was handed over to staff from the Menteri Besar’s office.