I remain deeply concerned about the environment and how development impacts climate change which will affect not just us but also future generations, even irreversibly. Forest areas, particularly peat swamp forests, play a vital role as carbon sinks to keep our planet cool and to slow down the rate of global warming. They also remain home to rare flora and fauna and their loss further risks diminishing our biodiversity.
In regards to the recent news on the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR) , some groups believe I am benefiting from such a decision, I would like to make my position clear. I have no link to Gabungan Indah Sdn Bhd or any development project in KLNFR.
Going forward, I wish everyone to pursue the most ambitious path. Make it all our responsibility to protect and rehabilitate as much of this land. Empower and protect the community that exists there. Build a more sustainable community by having some empathy and foresight. Selangorians won’t like seeing it go. We Malaysians want to do our part for this planet – to reverse our ecological mistakes and contribute positively to the environment.
These are most admirable sentiments shared by any leader who cares about their country, their weaker subjects and the highly threatened future of our planet for the next generation.
However, the Raja Muda has chosen his words a little too carefully to escape follow-up questions now that he has sought to address the burning issues surrounding the shocking decision of the Selangor State Government to de-gazette and destroy most of what little remains of Kuala Langat Forest Reserve.
It has never been suggested the Raja Muda has a current link to Gabungan Indah Sdn Bhd or the present development plans. Everyone knows that the present concession-holders are the destructive, timber-raiding Yaw family behind Sarawak’s notorious Samling group.
However, everyone equally knows that it was a company,Titian Jutaria Sdn Bhd, which was directed by the Prince and owned by his father the Sultan and his cousin that first initiated this project together with the state.
The Menteri Besar of Selangor is on record saying the two concerns had pledged to pay a premium of RM323,774,578 to get their hands on the project, which means that at some point the Raja Muda’s sentiments of concern about the environment and empathy for his people had been overruled by an opportunity that was plainly worth plenty more than that.
So, will Tengku Amir Shah or his father or the fellow director of the company (that was rapidly dissolved once this scandal blew up) be so good as to lay out the details of their original arrangement with the state and how the project was then transferred. What money if any changed hands?
These matters should also now be the subject of a major enquiry and scrutiny of the present administration under PH and its MB. How come Amirudin Shari saw fit to sign off this destructive project with so little transparency or consultation in the face of the appalling impact on the biodiversity of the state and native people?
Has there been a pattern of such improper land grabs in Selangor just as has been the case in Sarawak and have Samling been involved before – or indeed any of the other players?
Only by getting to the truth can the problem at the heart of what happened be rectified and future raids prevented.
Meanwhile, now that the Raja Muda has expressed his admirable concerns the good news is that he is one of the very few people who could, with a small enough effort on his part, do something major to improve the situation.
The likes of Sarawak Report work day after day trying to raise awareness and provoke good governance towards saving Malaysia’s staggeringly special and important natural heritage. Yet such efforts and those of fellow campaigners pale into insignificance compared to what the Selangor royal heir could do not just in his state but throughout Malaysia.
Were the Raja Muda to take up this cause and work to turn around the destruction in his state and to help nature to once more find the space to flourish then he could make a transformative difference and his name would go down in history for the good deed and great foresight he would have shown.
This is probably Selangor’s last chance and eleventh hour, so please lead the way so others who also care can follow.