IPOH, Aug 18 — Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urged the Perak government to say if it has approved granite quarrying and laterite mining in Segari Melintang Forest Reserve (SMFR), Manjung that has Permanent Reserved Forest (PRF) status.
SAM president Meenakshi Raman alleged that there were already applications for quarrying activities in part of Compartment 19, 20 and 21 covering an area of about 122 hectares in SMFR.
She also said there was also an application for laterite mining activity in part of Compartment 54 covering an area of about 49 hectares in the same forest reserve.
“In 2017, SAM had voiced our concern when the state authority had approved quarry activities in part of Compartments 13, 14, 15 and 16 of SMFR.
“SAM’s objection is because there are already several quarries operating in the forest reserve which had impacted the forest ecosystems and natural coastal area,” she said in a statement.
Meenakshi said approval of quarrying activities in the PRF was contradictory to the decision made at the 70th National Land Council Meeting in 2014.
“All states are urged to take the initiative to control or if possible to avoid any approval of mining and quarrying activities in the PRFs,” she said.
She said mining and quarrying activities in the PRF area would affect the functions of the forest, threaten biodiversity and were inconsistent with sustainable forest management that was the core of country’s forest management.
“When an area in a PRF is approved for quarrying, all valuable tree stands will be harvested and the forest cover will be cleared first.
“The clear-felling harvesting practice is not subject to the Annual Allowable Cut and the Selective Management System and is not in full compliance with the Malaysian Criteria and Indicators for Forest Management Certification,” she explained.
She also said SAM has submitted feedback on the Manjung District Draft Local Plan 2030 to reject the application for new quarry activities in view of conserving the existing forest area.
“We urge the stage government to expedite the proposed gazettement of the Segari Melintang State Park that has been agreed in principle by the state authority.
“We also want them to submit an application for compensation to the Federal Government due to its lack of revenue for not permitting the exploitation of the reserved forests and other unsustainable activities in PRF areas,” she said.
When contacted, Perak Forestry Department director Datuk Mohamed Zin Yusop said the Mentri Besar’s Office will issue a statement on the matter today.