Malaysia: Size of forest reserves in several states now under 20 per cent

NORASHIKIN LEMAN New Straits Times 17 Feb 16;

SHAH ALAM: The Federal and state governments have been urged to raise efforts to conserve and preserve forests in the country to ensure its sustainability and that it is free from encroachment.

Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) president Puan Seri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said so far there are no existing laws to prevent the carrying out of unmonitored logging activities that could possibly cause destruction to nature and other problems.

"Based on Peka's observation, the size of forest reserves in several states are under 20 per cent such as Malacca (30 per cent), Perlis (11 per cent) and Negeri Sembilan (16 per cent) when it supposed to be at 30 per cent.

"Policy makers should act fast to make serious amendments to the existing Acts in an effort to ensure that more forests are protected and eradicate uncontrolled logging activities.

"If not, Malaysia could lose its forest reserves and faced with problems involving habitat, ecosystem and biodiversity," she said.

Shariffa was speaking at a press conference to announce the Save Our Rainforest Race 2016 (SORR 2016) at Tanah Aina Cafe in Batu Tiga yesterday.

SORR 2016 themed Trees Are Our Future would be held on March 26 at the Sungai Menyala Eco-Edutourism Tourist Educational Centre in Port Dickson.

The annual event held since 2013 serves as a symbol to save forests in the country that are depleting and to raise awareness on the importance of tropical rain forests in Malaysia as well as urge the public to take care of the environment.

It kickstarts from 7.30am and ends at 2.30pm where participants would go on a 15km nature walk, take challenges at each checkpoints and plant trees at designated areas.

"This year, Peka is aiming to plant 1,000 trees of all sorts," said Shariffa, adding that a participation of 2,000 people aged 15 and above was expected.

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