ECRL Project Running Through Selangor Forest Reserves without an EIA approval – Green Party

Green Party pro-tem secretary general Abdul Razak said the forest clearings were also a breach of an existing moratorium on logging in Selangor.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 – Green Party Malaysia says it is highly disappointed with the Federal Government for having allowed encroachment into the Selangor state forest reserves, namely the Hulu Gombak and the Serendah Forest Reserve areas, to allow the construction of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project without the approval of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report from the Department of Environment.

“A report that we have received from the Rimba Disclosure Project (RDP) based on Satellite images show clearly that at least four locations in both the forest reserve areas have been cleared only recently.”

A search with the DOE’s website showed that the owner of the ECRL project, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd, had never submitted an EIA report to the department, Green Party’s pro-tem secretary general Abdul Razak Ismail told Weekly Echo today.

Satellite imagery courtesy of Green Party/RIMBA

While the Green Party acknowledges that the project had been put on a fast track list under the Federal Government, as seen under the project’s board, it still should have followed the rules that have been set for an EIA report approval before starting the project, Razak said.

“We have also received information that at the Hulu Gombak forest reserve, owners of the ECRL project (Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) have also undertaken the clean up of an area believed to have been leased out to them, namely the Orang Asli Batu 17 village at Jalan Gombak, to be used as a site for office and the storage of equipment and machinery belonging to the main contractor of the ECRL project, a company from China.”

Razak said that while it was a Federal Government project, it was still subjected to laws under the Selangor State Forest Enactment, where relevant parties must follow a 25-year moratorium set on logging in the state. The moratorium was approved by the Selangor state assembly in 2010 as part of its forest protection plan during the time when the late Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was the Menteri Besar of Selangor.

In view of this, the Green Party is urging the Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change to look into the issue and take appropriate measures against the owners of the ECRL project for breaching a standard regulation involving an EIA as well as a breach of state moratorium on logging.