KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) and two other environmental organisations got a High Court nod to challenge the closure of Taman Rimba Ampang to make way for the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE).
This was confirmed today via telephone by lawyer Kwan Will Sen, who said judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah granted leave for commencement of judicial review on May 11.
Kwan is acting for MNS and the other two judicial review applicants, Treat Every Environment Special Sdn Bhd (TEES) and Association for the Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia(PEKA).
He said the court had ordered a temporary halt to the park's closure and related construction works pending disposal of the legal challenge.
On April 11, the three environmental organisations filed the legal action in reaction to the Jan 9 decision by the three respondents to close the park from Jan 5 to May 5.
According to court papers, the park (Taman Rimba Ampang) is the main access of the public to the Ampang Forest Reserve in Gombak, which is targeted for the EKVE project.
The EKVE project involves a proposed toll highway connecting Bandar Sungai Long and Ukay Perdana.
MNS, TEES and PEKA seek to nullify the authorisation - by the Selangor Forestry Department and co-respondents Ampang Jaya Municipal Council and the Selangor state government - for the construction works and related logging in the Ampang Forest Reserve.
The three organisations claimed that the three respondents' action are in conflict with the Federal government's position on deforestation as Malaysia had ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on July 13, 1994.
They claimed that the construction works in the Ampang Forest Reserve would threaten the biological diversity and balance of the Selangor State Park, via destruction of its unique habitat for endangered animals like tigers, tapirs, Malayan Sun Bears, leopards and Sumatran Serows (species of goat-antelope).
They alleged that any construction in the Ampang Forest Reserve would jeopardise a key water catchment area and pollute the water source to the people of Selangor.
They also claimed that the construction would adversely affect dam integrity and safety, negatively impact eco-tourism, and cause deforestation which could lead to microclimate change.
They seek a declaration that the Ampang Forest Reserve is a Rank 1 Environmentally Sensitive Area, which if granted would make the park closure a violation of government policies under the Town and Country Planning Act 1976.
Rank 1 Environmentally Sensitive Area designation bars any development projects in designated areas, like national and state parks, and water catchment areas.
They seek a declaration that the closure decision violated environmental laws, which are the National Forestry Act 1984, National Forestry (Adoption) Enactment 1985, and Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, and the Town and Country Planning Act.
The judicial review is set for case management before the High Court Registry here tomorrow.