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Trees and plants in the Kuala Langat North forest reserve at Kampung Orang Asli Busut in Banting April 22, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Trees and plants in the Kuala Langat North forest reserve at Kampung Orang Asli Busut in Banting April 22, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Former members of the National Water Service Commission (SPAN) joined a growing chorus calling on the Selangor government to reverse its degazettement of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR).

Its former chairman Charles Santiago said Selangor is already facing many challenges with regard to its water resources with very limited water supply reserve margin, frequent disruptions due to pollution incidents and degradation of water sources. 

“The KLNFR stores more than 15 billion litres of water in its peat soil and supplements groundwater and surface water flow in adjacent areas.

“This important function will be totally disrupted by the proposed project,” he said in an online news conference this afternoon with other former members of SPAN.

The former commissioners condemned the degazettement that was publicly announced only yesterday in the Selangor State Assembly and said there were several criteria that had not been met beforehand.

“There have been many failings in the degazettement process.

“For example, no development plan or feasibility study has been presented to justify the project or forest conversion; no Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report has been prepared or approved; and no public hearing has been held to consider proposals to modify the gazetted District Local Plan which currently specifies the site to be a strict conservation zone,” said Charles.

He also pointed out that the Selangor state government has ignored 45,000 written objections submitted to the Public Inquiry on the development, while there is also a need for a Human Rights Impact assessment as to date there are Orang Asli living in the area that is approved for degazettement.

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