The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, said today development is not a licence legalising the destruction of the environment.
Development without balanced planning and without the approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, especially on hillslopes, will destroy the environment, he said.
"Uncontrolled and unapproved development in the Kinta Highlands (of Perak) bordering Cameron Highlands (Pahang) and Lojing (Kelantan) has reportedly resulted in serious erosion and silting.
"The Perak government will not compromise with illegal land settlers. Being soft and accommodating will give the wrong message and will only encourage more land encroachment," he said.
The sultan said this in the royal address when opening the first meeting of the second session of the 14th Perak Legislative Assembly at Bangunan Perak Darul Ridzuan in Ipoh. Also present was the Raja Permaisuri Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim.
Earlier, outside the assembly, Sultan Nazrin inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by three officers and 102 men of the First Battalion General Operations Force in Ulu Kinta, led by Muhammad Ulul Azmi Muhamed.
Sultan Nazrin said of the 15 million workers in Malaysia, only 1.8 million were in the agriculture sector and this was very worrying for a nation with a population of 32 million, which has been projected to increase to 36 million by 2030.
“The 1.8 million, most of whom are old, is too small a number to be responsible for producing food for 32 million people, especially if the methods of production are not modernised to increase productivity.
“The situation becomes more chronic when the figures show there is food wastage of almost 17,000 tonnes each day...a quantity which can provide three meals a day to 12 million people,” he said.
He said, based on this situation, food security poses a big challenge to any government.
Sultan Nazrin said the success of the Pulau Tiga Collecting Farming Land Scheme (RTB) in Kampung Gajah, Pasir Salak which recorded the highest production of palm oil in Peninsular Malaysia should be made an example for increasing estate productivity.