Kuantan MP: Why isn’t there a sustainability plan for Tasik Chini?

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh has asked the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources why it did not implement a management or sustainability plan for Tasik Chini after it was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve site in 2019.

“Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan admitted that there wasn’t any sustainable management plan, so how are they going to ensure its Unesco status is not affected?” she asked during a press conference in Parliament today.

She accused the minister of confusing the public by saying that mining activities in the area had been issued with a stop-work order when previously, he had said that such activities were not happening in Tasik Chini.

On a related note, Balik Pulau MP Datuk Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik, who was a former deputy minister of tourism, arts and culture, also questioned why mining activities had been allowed to take place when it had been previously claimed that no mining licences were issued after Tasik Chini was gazetted as a biosphere reserve in 2019.

“If there were no mining licences, then why are mining activities still going on?” he asked.

He also cited the Unesco periodical review that reported “a drastic increase in newly cleared forest area with intensive land conversion which impended conservation at Tasik Chini”.

Meanwhile, Bentong MP Wong Tack urged the government to punish the parties responsible for ruining Tasik Chini to avoid international embarrassment if the area is stripped of its Unesco status.

“It is unbelievable that such a thing can happen. Despite knowing that this area has been gazetted as a biosphere reserve, yet mining, logging and all sort of activities are still going on.

“How could this sort of destruction be allowed to occur, knowing that a review will be conducted in 10 years’ time?” he asked.

Wong suggested that the government set up a task force to investigate the matter openly and identify all the companies and individuals involved in the alleged mining activities.

“I think that’s only fair to the people of Pahang and Malaysia,” said Wong.

On August 3, Takiyuddin said any activity that could affect Tasik Chini in Pahang, including new approval for sand and mineral mining, had been stopped.

He said the strict directive was issued to ensure that Tasik Chini could be conserved and restored to maintain its status as a biosphere reserve.

According to Unesco’s first periodical review of the lake released recently, Tasik Chini no longer meets the criteria to be part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR).

However, Unesco has given the Malaysian authorities until September 30 to inform the world body on how it plans to nurse Tasik Chini and its surrounding wetlands back to health.

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