Degazettement of Forest Reserve needs the approval from the State Legislative Assembly

By:

Lim Chee Han

Affiliations:

Agora Society Malaysia

Policy Code:

3j Environment

Problem Statement:

Forest lands for resource extraction or development, is frequently done without proper oversight by the legislative assembly, let alone the public. The State Executive Council chaired by the Menteri Besar or the Chief Minister of the state wield unchallenged influence and make the final decision on degazettement of any forest reserves. There is a lack of transparency in the process. While the Selangor state government has implemented an additional step involving public consultation in the process, the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve degazettement has demonstrated its shortcomings. A forest reserve is not just a number or percentage and the practice of gazetting another piece of land to �replace� the loss of degazetted forest, or to �preserve� the forest coverage rate is a deception. Unfortunately, these serve as justified mitigation measures to enable the degazettement of a forest reserve.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

There should be accountability and transparency throughout the degazettement process of a Forest Reserve. An important decision with far reaching consequences, should not be left in the hands of a few, and should not be made easy.

Proposal of Solution:

The state executive council must justify, explain and defend the decision in the state legislative assembly when it comes to degazetting a Forest Reserve. It should be made a bill to be debated, voted on and passed, in addition to the requirement of majority support from the public during the public consultation session and survey. The State Executive Council should not have unfettered discretion to make decisions. Accountability and transparency measures should be incorporated, and the public should be kept informed of impending plans affecting their green lungs and activity areas.

Additional Information:

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