Fresh forest clearing in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC) wildlife corridor has alarmed environmentalists who are demanding an immediate halt to development plans in the critical buffer zone and the Perak Government is moving in on the case.
It is learnt that some 74ha of state land is set to be cleared, believed to be for oil palm plantations, posing a serious threat to endangered wildlife such as the Asian elephant and Malayan tiger.
Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir has ordered an in-depth probe into these alarming activities. “I will not tolerate any abuse. We are committed to protecting the environment, especially Hutan Belum because it is a protected and gazetted area,” the Perak Mentri Besar said in a statement yesterday, adding that the probe was to ensure all laws were adhered to.
The Perak State Agriculture Development Corporation (SADC) denied knowledge of any oil palm plantation development plan despite being named the land owner of that area.
A check with the orang asli living in one of the nearby settlements confirmed that clearing began some two weeks ago. Many of the residents were unhappy with the plan to clear the land as logging would pollute the river and worsen human-wildlife conflict.
Belum-Temengor Forest Complex and Belum Royal Park have a very high biodiversity. It lies within the state of Perak, north of Peninsular Malaysia, at a three hour drive from Ipoh. Environmentalists are trying to get BTFC listed as National Park to protect the massive area from forest clearing.