Malaysia: Illegal land clearing in Camerons despite warning

Audrey Dermawan New Straits Times 3 Aug 14;

LAX ENFORCEMENT: More illegal land clearing sites for farming spotted in the vicinity of Kampung Raja, Cameron Highlands.

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: BARELY a month after Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel brought reporters to check on illegal land clearing site at the Blue Valley-Kampung Raja border, the culprits are back to their tricks.

This time, several new illegal land clearing sites — at least two of which are on a big scale — have been identified in the vicinity of Kampung Raja.

Farm operator Chong Chan Kong, 39, told the New Sunday Times that he saw thick smoke coming from the direction of one of the hills in Kampung Raja early on Friday. The smoke dissipated by late afternoon.

He estimated the site being cleared to be no less than 1.2ha.

“The lax enforcement has resulted in more new sites being illegally cleared.

“Those responsible are not afraid because the numerous complaints made previously have fallen on deaf ears.

“No arrests have been made.”

Chong said checks at another site, where clearing work was just kicking-off, showed that the culprits were not bothered by the “No Trespassing” signboard put up by the land office.

“We hope the authorities will go all out to put a stop to this rampant illegal land clearing works on the highland.

“We do not want anything untoward to happen in the near future.”

On Friday, Palanivel said the authorities received information that a large tract of forest at Gunung Yong Belar near Kampung Raja, was being illegally cleared for farming.

He said illegal land clearing had to be curbed immediately as this could have detrimental effects on the environment.

“We view this issue seriously and action must be taken immediately against the culprits to justice.”

Illegal land clearing activities were not only confined to the Blue Valley-Kampung Raja border, but were also taking place in other areas on the highlands as well.

Among them were Kuala Terla, Brinchang and 49 Mile.

Most of the illegal land clearing took place on state government land.