Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says the ministry will take action against those who refuse to follow the stop work order at Hutan Merapoh in Lipis, Pahang. Bernama pic.

KUALA LUMPUR: All development and logging activities at Hutan Merapoh in Lipis have been ordered to come to a halt immediately.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said today his ministry would take action against those who refuse to follow orders.

“We have studied it briefly (and found that) many quarters are involved in this... the development and logging (activities) being carried out are not in accordance with the Environment Quality Act 1974.

“I have instructed the director-general of the Department of Environment (DoE) to issue stop work order for all activities held at the forest. Yesterday there were still contractors doing work,” he told reporters after a meeting of the National Land Council chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Parliament building.

According to Wan Junaidi, the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study for development and logging works at the forest was not implemented before exploration was made.

“I want a study done on this forest and I will discuss with the state government on this matter. Although the areas to be developed are private lands, the granting of the land was given in the forest reserve area in early 2000 which was before the EIA study was done.

“Since the development is being done now, everyone must adhere to this instruction,” he said.

Logging in Merapoh became a hot issue recently after Save Merapoh Caves founder Mohd Laili Basir claimed that logging activities there had destroyed the environment and polluted a river which was a source of water supply for 10,000 residents in eight villages.--Reporting by ARFA YUNUS, VEENA BABULAL, FERNANDO FONG.