Shut down Musang King plantation, urge Baling villagers

Hentikan penanaman 20,000 ekar durian

BALING: The villagers of Kampung Iboi here are urging the Kedah government to shut down a Musang King plantation in Gunung Inas.

Village Development and Security Committee secretary Nor Mohamad Che Hussain said this followed the findings that the activity violated the forest plantation conditions as announced in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

“We welcome the findings made by the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry and the Environment and Water Ministry.

“It is very clear that the Musang King plantation, which we have been objecting to over these years, contributed to the flood tragedy.

“Now the onus is on the state government to shut down the Musang King plantation and seize the land since the company has violated the forest plantation conditions,” he told the New Straits Times in Kampung Iboi.

It was reported that the Department of Environment had confirmed that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was approved for the Gunung Inas plantation project, but that it was for forest farming and not for a durian plantation.

Its director-general, Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaffar, was reported as saying that the EIA report, “Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) for the Development of Forest Plantation in Gunung Inas Forest Reserve”, was approved on July 25, 2013.

Last week, Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the floods early this month were caused by a burst reservoir in the plantation, based on studies carried out by the ministry.

Nor Mohamad said the villagers were waiting for the state government to take action on the remaining huge reservoirs at the Musang King plantation.

“The villagers are having sleepless nights because no action has been taken on the reservoirs.

“We are appealing to Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor to look into this matter urgently.”

He also urged the state government to gazette Gunung Inas as a protected forest for water catchment in line with the Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia (JPSM)’s suggestion.

“For the sake of the safety of the people living in the 12 affected villages, the state government must replant natural timber trees to rehabilitate Gunung Inas.”

Azman Yusof, 59, a resident of Kampung Bok Bak, hoped firm action would be taken soon to resolve the issue.

“This has been going on for a while, and we are sick and tired of it. We want the authorities to resolve the issue now.

“Our lives are in danger and we need immediate solutions. Do we need to wait for another disaster? Haven’t we seen enough damage?”

Yesterday, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan told the Dewan Rakyat that the Musang King durian plantation project in Gunung Inas violated the forest plantation conditions.

Takiyuddin said hybrid durian plants such as Musang King were not on the list of 11 species allowed to be planted on a forest farm.

He said although it was allowed to be implemented by the Kedah government in 2017, JPSM regarded the planting of the tree species as a violation of the forest plantation conditions.

It was reported that 5,000 Musang King trees have been planted on 52ha on the slopes of Gunung Inas.

Takiyuddin said the Musang King plantation had taken up 20 per cent of the land although JPSM, through the Kedah menteri besar had, in 2020, ordered the immediate cessation of the durian farm project.

He said JPSM had suggested that the state government make Gunung Inas a protected forest for water catchment so that it could not be tampered with.

In the July 4 incident, three people in a family, including a pregnant woman, were killed when more than 800 houses in 12 villages were inundated.

It was the worst flood recorded in Kupang, triggered by a water column that began upstream of Gunung Inas.

Strong currents swept away 16 houses, destroyed 18 homes and left more than 700 homes with minor damage.

NST

Leave a Reply