Best to gazette Batu Kapur as forest reserve to preserve heritage

IPOH, Oct 30: The initiative to gazette the Batu Kapur forest as a forest reserve or protected area is the best way to preserve the heritage treasures and the historic features, especially in the Kinta Valley Geopark.  

Former Perbadanan Taman Negeri Perak director Mohamed Shah Redza Hussein said however, such initiatives must be discussed with the stakeholders because there are several areas of the Batu Kapur forest have been designated as zones for quarry and mining activities.

“The zoning of such designated areas have been done for ten of years since land has been offered for lease and rental concessions before the Kinta Valley Geopark was initiated.

“If the government wants to end such concessions immediately, concession holders will have to be compensated. Therefore, the stakeholders and concession holders must jointly take initiatives to preserve the areas and at the same time follow the proper procedures,” he said.

He said this when met after attending the Batu Kapur Treasure Forum: ‘Finding a Balance between Economic Sustainability and Conservation’ at Masoorat Heritage Park here yesterday.

Earlier, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) researcher Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman suggested that agencies responsible set up at least one model Batu Kapur forest site which has a forest reserve status to ensure such areas are preserved without any intervention by any parties.

Mohamed Shah added that the community, especially youths, must be educated about the importance of heritage and historic values of preserving forest reserves.

Meanwhile, Masoorat Heritage Park operator Megat Mohd Shahrin Mohd Hamdan said the forum was organised to gather more than 70 youths comprising students from schools and public institutions and give them an opportunity to know values and history of the Masoorat cave and the importance of preserving the environment and heritage.