COMMENT | Klang and Shah Alam do not have a Bukit Gasing or Bukit Kiara. So why is the Selangor Pakatan Harapan government hell-bent on chopping down the nearest forest that residents there have? To build a graveyard of all things!
That’s what I asked in my last column. The probable answer, as usual, is the connection between politics and business. It also involves the position of the Selangor menteri besar, which is said to be "jinxed" or "cursed".
This is an area of hills near the coast of Selangor at Kapar. They are visible from the sea, and Admiral Cheng Ho even made a note of them (500 years ago) as a navigational aid, said veteran forestry researcher Lim Teckwyn.
It's also an area that is still rich in wildlife, including "spectacled" leaf monkeys, kingfishers, and colourful frogs. Even hornbills are found here!
In 1909, the British officially gazetted this area of rolling hills as the Bukit Cherakah forest reserve (the former agricultural park of the same name sits on one small slice of this), covering a huge area of 10,000 acres (4,047 hectares). What residents, organised as the Shah Alam Community Forest (SACF) group, are trying to save now is a mere 172 hectares.
Fast forward to 2005, and this area hit national headlines for forest destruction, which left then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi “outraged” after seeing it for himself in a helicopter ride.
What happened was that Khir Toyo, then the Selangor menteri besar (MB), and his state executive council (exco), had allocated large swaths of forest land to four “friendly” companies, which had some “directors” who were not even adults!
In the usual Malaysia Boleh style, some rules were bent, some wrists were slapped, and Khir Toyo blamed the previous state Umno leaders for the fiasco...