MPS must reveal true status of land, say environment-friendly NGOs

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SEREMBAN, Feb 28, 2015:

The Seremban Municipal Council (MPS) must reveal the true status of a two-acre plot of land which was cleared to make way for a horse ranch following the felling of trees, a non-governmental organisations (NGO) said.

The once lush with greenery plot of land said to belong to SK Taman Rasah Jaya and rented to a local college was recently cleared to make way for a horse ranch, which is yet to attain approval from the Seremban Land and District Office.

This has led several concerned environment-friendly NGOs to question the type of trees which were fell and the reason behind the illegal logging.

“Firstly, local authority needs to be held accountable for all the disjointed stories we are hearing from all the stakeholders.

“Right now it is ‘he says, she says’. The land office and MPS must reveal the true status of the land and inform the communities,” EcoKnights president Yasmin Rasyid said when contacted byThe Rakyat Post today.

Questioning how a horse ranch can be set up near a residential area and wondering if this was according to the land planning guidelines, Yasmin lamented the fact that trees were often made victims by being chopped down before proper consultations were done.

“Trees absorb carbon dioxide and definitely helps to regulate temperature and are best left untouched.

“Until proper land assessment is done or indicated by the local authority, to chop down trees without even clear perspective on what the land is used for, in my humble opinion, is not very environment-friendly.”

Echoing similar sentiments and highlighting the need for a township to have a designated “green lung”, Centre for Environment, Technology and Development (Cetdem) executive director Anthony Tan questioned the type of trees which were fell.

“If the Negeri Sembilan Forestry Department claimed to have had issued a permit to dispose the trees, do they then know what type of trees were chopped down?” Tan asked.

Negeri Sembilan Forestry Department director Datuk Ahmad Fadzil Abdul Majid, had earlier said that the department had only issued permit to dispose of the fallen trees, with the project being under the Seremban Municipal Council’s (MPS) jurisdiction.

He did not elaborate on the project further.

“What is the condition and usage of the land? Is it to be used for agricultural purposes or industrial? Was the land designated as a “green lung” for the residential area there?” Tan asked, explaining that prior to chopping down of the trees, a study and research should be conducted beforehand.

“Trees also act as a dust barrier if there are roads nearby.”

Tan also wondered if the Negeri Sembilan Health Department was in the loop on this issue due to the fact that the ranch was located in close proximity to residential area.

“There is the danger of disease jumping from species to species as the ranch is located in close proximity to the flats.”

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) head of communications Andrew J. Sebastian said the permanent loss of green lungs would hold serious implications towards localised climatic change, flood prevention and even loss of natural diversity that makes Seremban unique.

“We urge the authorities to take action not only in this instance, but also to pro actively enhance green areas within its jurisdiction to bring a balance sense of development.

“Let’s create more areas for local plants and wildlife to thrive and for people to be in harmony. That’s a formula for sustainable development,” Andrew said.

DAP Mambau assemblyman Yap Yew Weng had said yesterday that the clearing of the trees appeared illegal and he would raise the matter in the Negeri Sembilan state assembly sitting this April.

Meanwhile, The Rakyat Post tried obtaining comments from the Negri Sembilan Public Facilities and Environment, Cosumerism Committee chairman Datuk Abu Ubaidah Redza, but was unable to gain any response as at press time.



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