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'Stop rape of Camerons'

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WOES: Illegal land clearing, too many projects a bane

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: THE Pahang government has been urged to stop the environmental degradation here caused by greedy parties, including farmers,  over the past 12 years.

The Regional Environmental Awareness of Cameron Highlands (REACH), a community-funded organisation, claimed that illegal land clearing was on the rise.

In a 29-page report sent to Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, the organisation claimed that this had affected the riverine system and water supply.

REACH president R. Ramakrishnan said infrastructure, physical development as well as agriculture projects were being carried out in violation of the Land Conservation Act and other laws.

"One of the most important direct contributors to the depletion of primary forests in Cameron Highlands is illegal land clearing for agriculture," he said in the report titled "Illegal Land Clearing in Cameron Highlands".

On top of that, development projects have saturated the habitable area in the district, causing approvals to be given for the construction of new buildings on high-gradient slopes and forested areas.

"Today, Cameron Highlands has become saturated with apartments, hotels, shops and stalls.

"The capacity of the towns (Tanah Rata, Berinchang and Ringlet) has been exceeded."

Ramakrishnan urged Adnan to look into the issue and halt the degradation.

The report warned the state government of the environmental risks posed by the projects as half the land area of Cameron Highlands has a gradient of more than 20 degrees and more than three quarters of the highlands has an erosion rate of more than 150 tonnes per hectare per year.

"The likelihood of landslides occurring is high if land clearing continues unabated. Siltation of rivers and water shortages will also become constant features."

A forested area in Cameron Highlands being cleared.


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