Air Hitam Forest Reserve hillslope to remain intact

Posted on July 13, 2010. Filed under: Environment and Livelihoods |

-The Star- THE Selangor state government has no plans to develop the hillslope in Air Hitam Forest Reserve in Puchong as claimed by certain quarters.

Senior executive councillor Teresa Kok said it was not true that the state government had by-passed the residents and given the go ahead for the hillslope in the forest reserve to be developed.

She was speaking at a press conference after meeting residents of Bayan Hill Homes at Bandar Puchong Jaya who had expressed concern about claims that the hillslope would be developed.

The meeting was also attended by a few councillors from the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) and residents association representatives.

Green backdrop: The area near the Air Hitam forest reserve has many condominium blocks. Taman Wawasan is in the foreground.

“It is all done in bad taste. There was never any attempt to develop the Air Hitam Forest Reserve,” said Teresa, who is the assemblyman for Kinrara.

Teresa said certain quarters were poisoning the minds of the residents that the hillslope in Air Hitam would be developed and that the public now had no access to the area.

There are claims that the orang asli communities living there were also threatened.

“We refute all these claims. In January the state government gave the residents of Puchong a New Year gift in the form of a promise not to develop the Air Hitam Forest Reserve,” said Teresa.

“It is the state government’s decision not to develop the forest rich in flora and fauna. The two former MPSJ councillors are irresponsibe and spreading rumours and causing fear among Puchong residents,” said Teresa.

She said a committee had fixed a briefing on July 23 to provide details on the “hill slope development” to residents of Puchong Jaya and surrounding areas.

It will be held at the Sutramas Condo in Puchong.

The forest reserve was originally 4,270ha and there have been multiple excision between 1964 and 2006, totalling 2,963.5ha.

As of February last year, 1,217ha had been gazetted by the Selangor government as an education and research forest and under the jurisdiction of the Selangor Forestry Departent. The forest is on a 80-year lease from 1996 to Universiti Putra Malaysia.

In the New Year celebrations this year in Puchong, Selangor Tourism, Consumer and Environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong announced the state’s decision to abort the proposed cemetery project in the forest reserve.

Since April 2004, the residents had been fighting for the project to be scrapped so that the forest would remain a green lung.

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