Kelantan move to reclassify environmentally sensitive forests alarms Putrajaya

Uncontrolled deforestation that may follow the declassification could also lead to more severe flood woes as such activity has already resulted in flash floods in Kelantan for over a decade

(The Vibes) – Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad sends letter to menteri besar on impact of the action.

The federal government is concerned at the Kelantan government’s move to alter the status of environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs) in the state, fearing negative implications and how it would affect the policy of targetting to have 50 percent forested land in Peninsular Malaysia in line with the National Physical Plan (NPP).

Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said that it is vital to maintain the status of permanent forest reserves in the state and this ensures that the areas cannot be developed arbitrarily in the future.

He said that his ministry fundamentally disagrees with the state government’s inclination to implement proposed changes to the official state development plans for Kelantan.

He said that he has sent a letter to Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob expressing the views and concerns of the federal government on this matter.

“I hope that the Kelantan state government will reconsider the proposal to change the development plan involving environmentally sensitive areas in Kelantan and (work) together with the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Ministry to empower forest management and development, and maintain existing forest areas for the sake of environmental sustainability,” he said.

Public voice disregarded: Rimbawatch

On October 21, Rimbawatch, an environmental watchdog, had raised an alarm that the alterations had been proposed in the Kelantan state structure plan, local plan and special area plan.

The draft alterations were released by the state Town and Country Planning Department and will be publicly displayed until November 11, it said. In inspecting these proposed alterations,

RimbaWatch said that it is appalled by the “unprecedented proposal” to remove all environmentally sensitive areas in Kelantan from the plan.

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