I refer to the recent news of forest clearing at Belum Temengor Forest Reserve.
It is utterly a disgrace to our country that this kind of activity is being carried out just for the sake of state income, regardless of the survivability of the endangered wildlife, and the destruction of natural water catchment areas.
Malaysia houses one of the world's oldest and pristine tropical rainforests and is blessed with ample rainfall that ensures our water security.
However, if land use management and development planning is done with a ‘business-as-usual' mindset, all these gifts will be scraped away from us.
Forests serve mainly as the habitat for wildlife and are natural water catchment areas and therefore must be gazetted and freed from any development to ensure the quality of the surface water.
Information such as location and features of the gazetted areas must be listed and published publicly for the purpose of education, awareness, and to instill a sense of ownership in the public.
Strict forestry regulations and laws must be implemented and enforced accordingly.
The year 2011 has been declared International Year of Forest (IYoF) by the United Nations to raise awareness on conservation, sustainable development and management of all types of forests.
We will be the world limelight for the wrong reasons if we fail to come out with a sustainable and holistic solution regarding this matter.
FOON WENG LIAN is policy and research executive for Forum Air Malaysia.