PETALING JAYA: Land clearing for the East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) project which recently drew scrutiny does not involve any de-gazettement of forest reserves, including those within the Selangor state park, says Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL).
MRL, which is wholly owned by the finance ministry, said it had obtained a right-of-way permit from the forestry department for its contractors to enter the forest reserve to carry out “licensed activities” related to the project.
“As project owner of the ECRL, MRL and the main contractor, China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCC-ECRL), is committed to fully complying with all requirements set out by the authorities to protect the environment and safeguard public interest.
“To safeguard the environment, the ECRL project has among others complied with the approved environmental impact assessment (EIA), environmental management plan (EMP) and erosion and sediment control plan (ESCP) guidelines, as well as conditions that were prescribed by the environment, and irrigation and drainage departments.
“In addition, both MRL and CCC-ECRL are proactively holding meetings and engagement sessions with the state authorities and all stakeholders, including the local communities living near the project’s work sites,” it said in a statement.
MRL said the engagements were to ensure the voices of all affected parties and public concerns were fully considered to minimise social and environmental impact.
On Wednesday, forest monitoring watchdog Rimba Disclosure Project (RDP) said it had found “some odd activities going on inside the Selangor state park” based on its analysis of satellite imagery.
It said four suspicious clearings had occurred within or at the borders of the park, which was gazetted in 2007 and is the second largest totally protected area in West Malaysia after Taman Negara.
Selangor menteri besar Amirudin Shari confirmed that CCC-ECRL was behind the land clearing, saying the company had obtained the permit to clear land but had begun construction “without approval”.
Amirudin did not say if the company had been penalised or directed to stop all construction work.
The ECRL alignment involving Selangor, namely Section C, is divided into Section C1 from Mentakab to Gombak and Section C2 from Gombak to Port Klang via Serendah.
The state park is located in Gombak.
Source : www.freemalaysiatoday.com