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Report: Amanah assemblyman tells Selangor not to bulldoze reserve forest rezoning

Saari Sungib also questioned why the proposal to degazette the forest reserve was made by the state executive council as a matter of such significance should have been presented to the state assembly. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 — Hulu Kelang assemblyman Saari Sungib cautioned the Selangor government against ruling with arrogance today, particularly in the proposal to degazette the Kuala Langat Utara Forest Reserve (HSKLU).

Malaysiakini reported the Amanah lawmaker as urging the Pakatan Harapan state government to take note of non-governmental organisations’ allegations that the move would violate the rights of some state natives as well as irreparably harm local biodiversity.

“If the two allegations are true, the things that will happen will be even worse and worse!” he said.

“It involves the imposition of an ironclad power policy and an arrogant attitude of not wanting to listen to the views of experts in areas that maintain political and administrative stability of the state,” he was quoted as saying.

Saari also questioned why the proposal to degazette the forest reserve was made by the state executive council as a matter of such significance should have been presented to the state assembly.

He said the state assembly could be a check-and-balance mechanism as it was a venue with diverse views and expertise.

“As a member of the Selangor state assembly, I have asked for clarification from the MB (mentri besar) and the infrastructure and agriculture exco.

“I believe the principles of democracy are still upheld in the decision-making process,” he said.

On February 5 last year, the Selangor Forestry Department unveiled the plan to degazette the forest reserve to make way for mixed development projects through announcements in several newspapers.

The proposal to demolish 931.17 hectares out of 957.63 hectares of HSKLU was submitted by the Selangor state government in early February 2020.

Since then, some NGOs and media outlets have reported that HSKLU was home to a generation of Orang Asli from the Temuan tribe, with a population of around 2,000 at present.

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