Explain deforestation of mangrove reserve in Kalumpang

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Chan during an inspection to the affected mangrove reserve, in Kalumpang
By Victor Ma

TAWAU: Assemblyman for Sri Tanjong, Chan Foong Hin has demanded for an explanation from the State Forestry Department’s director Datuk Sam Manan, on the rationale behind rescinding its support to the Sipadan Mangrove Resort (SMR).

Chan said he was puzzled by such a decision, citing that the establishment of the said resort will help in generating yet another venue of interest for the tourism sector which will support the betterment of economy for the district.

He claimed to have been reliably learnt that the State Forestry Department has recently withdrew its support for the management of the 1,000 hectares of mangrove forest by SMR.

“This has placed the resort in a non-functioning situation let alone illegal encroachment to mangrove reserve by squatters,” he claimed.

Chan further claimed that the operator of the resort had invested millions of ringgit into the development of the infrastructure and resort in the said area after obtaining an assurance from the department that SMR would be given management right over the 1,000 hectares mangrove reserve for its eco-tourism development.

“The unilateral decision of the department in withdrawing the support would result monies and effort spent to develop the district into a tourist attraction flush down to drain,” he lamented.

In a statement, Chan pointed out the fact that SMR has obtained a grant from Unit Kerjasama Awam Swasta of the Prime Minister’s Department for the purpose of the said eco-tourism development, undoubtedly show that it is a feasible project supported by the federal government.

He thus described the decision by the Forestry Department as questionable as it had inevitably undermined a project that was supported by the federal government.

He thus stressed that the Forestry Department should explain its reason for not supporting the said project despite the fact that it would benefit the district and create job opportunities for many of the local communities.

“The other project affected is the 1,500 hectares of Organic Farm operated by the same firm. These two projects are included in the Economic Transformation Programme initiated by the Malaysian Government,” he pointed out.

The Sabah Dap Publicity went on to note that the company involved has filed for leave at the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak in Tawau, on November 8, to seek for Judicial Review against the Forestry Department’s decision.

Chan also claimed that a recent inspection carried out at the said mangrove forest in Kalumpang found that deforestation of the mangrove forest is ongoing to convert the area originally designated for eco-tourism into palm oil plantation.

He further claimed that the ongoing activities there were conducted without any effective monitoring by the Sabah Forestry and the Fishery Department. The affected area measuring 3.030 acres which belonged to the Sate Fishery Department has been earlier declared as fishery land reserves.

“It was also learnt that Fishery Department has received a letter citing the illegal clearing of land at Sungai Kalumpang which is meant for palm oil cultivation, but no action has been taken so far.

“Thus, it is apparent that the lack of proper control and policing of such situation which is under the command and jurisdiction of certain little Napoleons,” he lamented.


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