IPOH, Jan 18 — Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) today blamed state authorities for a badly damaged ecosystem in Segari Melintang Forest Reserve, Manjung after quarry activities were approved by the state-owned Mentri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc).
SAM field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said recent checks conducted at the site showed that the Tanjung Batu Waterfall — a favourite relaxing spot among local community and hikers, has been polluted due to erosion caused by land clearing activities.
“The water body system of the waterfall has been affected and damaged.
“The sediment from the erosion caused the once-pristine water to turn brown whenever it rains and the logs which were cut down near the waterfall has affected the water flow,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.
Meor Razak claimed that while the quarry company had obtained an environmental impact assessment (EIA), the contractor who cleared the land had violated some of the terms under the EIA report.
“The contractor clearly did not follow the mitigation measure under the EIA report. They cleared the land and cut down the trees too near to the river reserves, which causes the logs and sediment to rush down to the water whenever it rains.
“By right, the authorities should have monitored the clearing works to ensure the contractor or the company had followed the rules under the EIA report, but sadly that was not the case. It is really disappointing,” he said.
Meor Razak said SAM had previously opposed the quarry project back in 2017.
“We are against any quarry activities in the forest reserve. According to the Manjung district local plan, it was agreed that there will not be any quarry activities approved in the forest reserve.
“However, the government is the one who approved the quarry project. It’s really contradicting to what they have agreed initially,” he added.
Meor Razak also pointed out that during the 2014 National Land Council Meeting, a decree was issued to not allow any quarry activities in permanent forest reserves under Section 34 of the National Forestry Act 1984.
“The decree is still valid and has not been amended as of today. So how come quarry activities were allowed in permanent forest reserves,” he asked.
Pictures of the damaged waterfall were recently shared on social media by the public, triggering anger and dissatisfaction against the authorities who failed to protect the permanent forest reserve.
Meanwhile, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad in a statement today said that the state government has instructed the Forestry Department and the Department of Environment to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged damage around the Tanjung Batu Waterfall in Segari.
“MB Inc was also asked to provide a detailed report on quarrying activities which were alleged to be the cause of the damage in the area.
“In this regard, the state government has ordered for any work in the area be stopped while waiting for the results of the investigation to be completed,” he said.
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