KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 — Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) today said that it has obtained permission from the Forestry Department to conduct operations within Selangor State Park related to the construction of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) Project in Selangor.
MRL said the land clearing would not involve a degazettement of forest reserves including those within Selangor State Park.
“We wish to note that the land clearing for the ECRL Project in Selangor does not involve any degazettement of forest reserves including those within the Selangor State Park.
“To facilitate preparatory works for ECRL construction, MRL has obtained a right-of-way permit (permit izin lalu) from the Forestry Department so that our contractors can enter the forest reserve to carry out licenced activities related to ECRL,” MRL said in a statement today.
MRL is the project owner for ECRL together with their main contractor China Communications Construction Sdn Bhd (CCC-ECRL).
They were said to be clearing the forest without permission which was confirmed by Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari last Friday.
Amirudin told Malay Mail that CCC had obtained the permit to clear land earmarked for a 2.3-kilometre road to be built for “entry facilities” but had begun construction “without approval.”
Authorities are currently investigating the matter after a police report was lodged last December, the Gombak MP said.
CCC’s activities in the protected Selangor State Park were reported by deforestation watchdog Rimba Disclosure Project on Wednesday.
Using satellite imagery, the group said it found “odd activities” that appeared like land clearing in parts of the Hulu Gombak Forest Reserve and close to the Serendah Forest Reserve.
It then conducted a field probe around the locations and found notices of construction work had been erected, indicating that roads were being built for the Gombak-Port Klang section of the ECRL.
That section of the project, however, has yet to receive approval from the Department of Environment, the group noted.
MRL today said they had received permission from the Ministry of Transport for the construction of the ECRL Railway Scheme for Section C2 on January 14, 2022, and then on September 14, 2022, received approval from the Selangor State Government to proceed with the construction of ECRL Section C2 alignment in Selangor.
“To safeguard the environment, the ECRL Project has among others complied with the approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and Erosion and Sediment Control Plans (ESCP) guidelines and conditions that were prescribed by the Department of Environment (DOE) and Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) accordingly,” they said in addition to holding meetings with stakeholders and people living near the ECRL work sites.”
The Selangor State Park is over 108,000 hectares in size and was gazetted by the state on January 25, 2007.
Upon its establishment, it became the second-largest park in Peninsular Malaysia with the largest being Taman Negara.