LETTER | Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (Abim) refers to the action of the Selangor state government to degazette the status of the North Kuala Langat Forest as a permanent forest reserve for development purposes.
Abim urges that the degazettement of the permanent forest reserve status be withdrawn due to environmental sustainability factors and for the lives of future generations.
Moreover, this act has received protests from the majority of residents in the area, particularly the indigenous people through the Coalition of Defending the North Kuala Langat Forest (HSKLU).
Abim stresses that the opening of the forest area will exacerbate the climate crisis, especially in increasing the amount of carbon produced in the country.
Since the area is a peatland forest area, it plays a big role in storing large amounts of carbon and indirectly helps reduce the current amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
However, the exploration and deforestation of the peat forest for development purposes will reduce the number of natural resources that play a role in balancing the amount of carbon and increase the amount of carbon emissions into the air.
This situation will significantly affect Malaysia's commitment at the international level through the "Paris Agreement" to achieve the carbon-neutral target by 2050.
In addition, it should be emphasised that rampant logging activities and uncontrolled deforestation are the main causes of climate change. The major flood crisis that occurs repeatedly is one of the effects of climate change.
Therefore, forests must be protected and even expanded if the current government is serious in addressing the issue of climate change.
As such, instead of sacrificing the forest which poses grave implications for the people and nature, Abim proposes that the area be optimised as a site for ecotourism by maintaining the status of a permanent forest reserve which will also serve as a method to educate all citizens to appreciate nature and attract more tourists.
MUHAMMAD FAISAL ABDUL AZIZ is president of the Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (Abim).
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