Malaysia: Ops to stop illegal forest clearing in Camerons

The Star 9 Mar 16;

KUANTAN: Five platoons of the Territorial Army will be mobilised in an operation to stop illegal occupation of land and forest clearing in the Cameron Highlands, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

He said the operation would involve the participation of between 200 and 300 members of the Depart­ment of Civil Defence who help the Forestry Depart­ment replant trees in the affected areas.

“We do not want Cameron Highlands to be like Lojing in Kelantan, which had been cleared so badly that it affected the climate there,” he said in a statement.

On Monday, he attended a briefing on the operation known as Op Gading in Cameron Highlands.

During the briefing, Shahidan instructed Cameron Highlands district officer Datuk A. Rahman Hamzah to organise a campaign on the planting of a million trees as soon as possible.

In a separate operation codenamed Op Kesan, Cameron High­lands acting police chief ASP Azmi Mahmood said that 87 illegal immigrants were arrested at a con­struction site in Tanah Rata here yesterday morning. — Bernama


Stricter checks to prevent illegal land clearing
IVAN LOH The Star 10 Mar 16;

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Enforcement teams patrolling the areas here will be rotated every three or six months.

“We will have several teams of enforcement officers to monitor illegal land clearing here,” said Cameron Highlands district officer Datuk A. Rahman Hamzah.

“We will also rotate the teams between three and six months to prevent the officers from being comfortable with the area and the local people.”

He added that the district office would implement its “area zoning system” after the conclusion of Ops Gading as a continuity to monitor and to prevent encroachment of state lands.

A. Rahman said the highlands could be divided into four zones.

“There needs to be constant monitoring and patrolling at areas deemed vulnerable to encroachment,” he told reporters when met at his office here yesterday.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was quoted as saying that five platoons of the Territorial Army would be mobilised in an operation to stop illegal occupation of land and forest clearing at the highlands.

Shahidan had also attended a briefing on Ops Gading and instructed A. Rahman to organise a campaign to plant a million trees as soon as possible.

A. Rahman said they had been monitoring the situation at the highlands and found no new areas being cleared since the last Ops Gading at the end of last year.

“There are only some existing farming areas where illegal farming activities are still being carried out,” he said, adding that the district office had obtained satellite images of the highlands from the Remote Sensing Agency.

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