Saturday, July 19, 2008

Perak offers oil palm firm another site

Thumb Up for the present Perak State Government for being environment friendly. Undoing what the previous State Government did.
Thank you.
Saturday July 19, 2008

THE Perak Government is offering an alternative site to Gopeng Bhd to start its oil palm plantation in order to protect the biodiversity of the Ulu Geroh Forest Re-serve.

State Health, Environment and Human Resources Committee chairman A. Sivanesan said the matter was discussed at the state exco meeting on Wednesday.

“We will meet the company to brief the directors,” he said after meeting members of the Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) on Thursday.

On where the alternative site would be, Sivanesan said the state had to cross the first hurdle of getting the company to agree on the land swap, adding that he was seeking the company’s cooperation to suspend work.

The matter was highlighted after some 700 orang asli from the affected settlements of Ulu Kampar, Ulu Geroh, Kampung Serkal and Kampung Empang Besar complained about land clearing work by Gopeng Bhd’s contractor to build a road leading to the plantation.

Last year, Gopeng Bhd was given a six-month concession to clear the area to build the road.

The previous Barisan Nasional state government had alienated 136.72ha of land to the company to cultivate oil palm while 150ha of land had been gazetted as orang asli settlement, Sivanesan said.

He pointed out that the offer of an alternative site to the company was not because the state government was bowing to the demands of the orang asli.

“We are looking at the larger picture, its effects on the nature and environment.

“We need to strike a balance between nature and investments. I will ensure that nature is not stripped. It has to be preserved.

“The state does not even mind looking at compensating Gopeng Bhd for work done by giving a slightly bigger piece of land it now has,” he said.

MNS council member Tan Chin Tong said the society was concerned about the biodiversity at the Sungai Geroh valley which is a catchment area.

Apart from the orang asli, he said, there were three resorts and seven companies operating white water rafting in the forest reserve.

Tan also presented a proposal to gazette Kinta Nature Park, covering 950ha, into a state park.
Friday August 1, 2008
Orang asli score victory in Gopeng

GOPENG: The orang asli of five settlements here scored a victory after Gopeng Bhd accepted the Perak Government’s offer of an alternative site to start its oil palm plantation.

State Health, Environment and Human Resources Committee chairman A. Sivanesan said the company agreed that the 136.72ha land in question be returned to the state in exchange for a similar site.

In June, it was reported that Gopeng Bhd’s land-clearing work for a road leading to the site had angered the orang asli from the affected settlements of Ulu Kampar, Ulu Geroh, Kampung Serkal, Ulu Geruntum and Kampung Empang Besar.
“The state has already instructed the Forestry and respective departments to look for an alternative site,” Sivanesan told a press conference here yesterday.
“We consider the matter closed and there won’t be any intrusion or infringement on the rights of the orang asli,” he said.
The orang asli’s spokesman, Bah Azmi Ngah Porgi, said he was moved by the latest turn of events after months of fighting to preserve their land.
“I don’t know what to say. I want to thank the Mentri Besar, Teja assemblyman Chang Lih Kang and everyone else for understanding our plight,” he said.

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