Forestry Dept to identify high-risk areas for early intervention

Takiyuddin has ordered JPSM to submit its reports and mitigating measures that can be implemented within a month

by NURUL SUHAIDI / pic source: forestry.gov.my

THE Energy and Natural Resources Ministry (KeTSA) has instructed the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia (JPSM) to work with all State Forestry directors to immediately identify high-risk areas (hotspots).

This was in light of recent incidents of driftwood dumping, debris and landslides in several states due to heavy rains and major floods.

Many parties had previously claimed that the recent floods occurred due to logging activities, but according to JPSM, it had not found logging activities in the affected areas as alleged by the public.

Responding to the matter, KeTSA Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan has ordered JPSM to submit its reports as well as mitigating measures that can be implemented within a month.

The department has also been tasked to immediately install early warning systems at the Taman Eko Rimba recreational forest in Kuala Lumpur to ensure the areas are safe for residents and the public.

Additionally, KeTSA in a statement emphasised that the country’s forestry sector abides by the Sustainable Forest Management practices and is regulated by the National Forestry Act 1984 (Act 313) as well as respective state’s forestry ordinances or enactments.

Hence, it added, the federal and state governments must together coordinate forestry activities based on the guideline.

Takiyuddin added that Article 91 (5) of the Federal Constitution mandates the establishment of the National Land Council to standardise policies for development and control the use of land for mining, forestry, agriculture and any other purpose.

“These guidelines have taken into account the importance of environmental conservation and forest biodiversity,” he said.

Reinforcement also includes the implementation of a selective felling system since 1978, Annual Felling Ration (since 1981), and forest management certification and Indicators for Forest Management Certification (since 2012).

Among the practices implemented include the prohibition of any harvesting activities during the rainy season; a requirement to provide an Environmental Impact Assessment report for any harvesting activities exceeding 500ha, providing marking signage at harvesting areas and putting up tree cutting prohibition signages in river buffer zones.

Takiyuddin reiterated Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s firm stand to preserve the country’s natural resources through the moratorium on forest plantations in the Permanent Forest Reserves in Peninsular Malaysia for 15 years.

On top of that, according to Takiyuddin, the PM has urged all state governments in the peninsula to increase available forested areas from 43.41% to 50% by 2040, in line with the Fourth National Physical Plan, which was approved by the 39th National Physical Planning Council Meeting in October.

With that, Takiyuddin said KeTSA is committed to nurturing and managing natural resources and called all stakeholders to ensure that all policies are implemented accordingly.