Selangor Journal: Putrajaya lauds Selangor’s forest conservation efforts, adopts similar approach

KLANG, May 12 — Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change (NRECC) Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad has lauded the Selangor government’s forest conservation efforts, which led the Federal government to adopt a similar approach in its National Forestry Act following its amendment in 2022.

Although the Federal administration has taken steps to conserve forests nationwide, he said it is important for all state governments to implement similar policies.

“For instance, the Federal government amended the National Forestry Act in 2022 to include provisions requiring state governments to conduct a public inquiry before carrying out any degazettement activities, such as those undertaken by the Selangor administration.

“Any degazettement of an area (of permanent forest reserves) must be replaced as soon as possible. Currently, only Selangor and Perlis have taken this initiative.

“We have reminded all state governments to undertake similar efforts since forest management falls within state jurisdiction,” Nik Nazmi told the press after launching the Amanah Lestari Alam (Alam) Be-Leaf Programme 2024 and the mangrove planting event at Mangrove Point today.

In 2022, the National Forestry Act amendments included Section 11 and Section 12, which are new provisions requiring state governments to conduct a public inquiry before removing any area from permanent forest reserves or replacing it with an equal or larger-sized land area.

This was similar to the approach by the Selangor government in 2011, which established a requirement that no forest reserve could be degazetted without first conducting a public inquiry.

Meanwhile, the minister said the Federal government has planted nearly 3,500 hectares of mangroves and other plant species along the coastline nationwide, resulting in a total of eight million mangroves planted.

“As of May, we have planted 86.5 million trees nationwide, representing 1,823 species. Our aim is to plant 100 million trees by next year, in 2025,” he said.

Nik Nazmi added that mangrove planting efforts are important in light of the current global pollution and climate change challenges.

He said the government began the initiative in 2005 in response to the Aceh tsunami in 2004.

“Therefore, I highly appreciate Alam’s initiative, and I hope there will be more initiatives like this involving schools, universities, and corporate parties to sponsor such events for the community’s interest,” Nik Nazmi said, thanking about 100 participants and volunteers who attended the event.

Federal-state teamwork

Several ongoing initiatives will involve the Federal government and all state governments in environmental efforts, including preserving the forests, reducing single-use plastics, and wildlife conservation, especially within the Central Forest Spine in the Peninsular and the Heart of Borneo.

“We cannot just be involved at one level and expect things to happen. We must involve everyone. It is an ongoing issue, whether it concerns forest conservation or plastic usage.

“Single-use plastic is another matter, as it involves not only NREEC but also KPKT (Housing and Local Government Ministry),” he said, praising Selangor’s efforts to charge for using single-use plastic bags at supermarkets.

The Federal government is working to realign initiatives across states while taking into account the different development priorities of each state.

“However, goals must be achieved because plastic pollution is a serious issue.

“Wildlife conservation is another important aspect, especially in areas like the Central Forest Spine in the Peninsular and the Heart of Borneo. Extending beyond Malaysia to places like Kalimantan and Brunei requires collaboration among various stakeholders.

“If we have fragmented habitats for our wildlife, it will have a negative impact on them. We currently only have less than 150 (Malayan) tigers. So, these are things that we need to work on,” Nik Nazmi said.

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