SHAH ALAM: Government-linked company North West Integrated Agricultural Development Agency (IADA) has been urged to settle fines issued last year for encroaching on forest reserve land.
State executive councillor Elizabeth Wong informed the state assembly that the project, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries (MOA), had an outstanding compound of RM650,000.
The fines were issued when IADA was found to have trespassed into two forest reserves in Hulu Selangor and Pantai Klang.
This resulted in the felling of trees, as well as habitat loss and death of wildlife at the reserves when the land was cleared for agriculture.
“In total, they encroached on 108.8 hectares of forest which had been gazetted as a permanent forest reserve,” said Elizabeth Wong (PKR-Bukit Lanjan).
She was responding to a question by Lee Kim Sin (PKR-Kajang).
The intrusion was detected by the State Forestry Department, and a decision was made by the state to seize all equipment and machinery used by IADA.
To date, IADA has only paid to get their their machinery back, but has not settled the compound.
To prevent further encroachment, the state Forestry Department will be enhancing their monitoring process to prevent illegal logging.
This includes surveillance from the air, and collaboration with state agencies.
The state is also striving to protect forest animals that are nearing extinction.
“To protect the endangered species, the state has worked with the state’s Department of Wildlife and National Park and banned all pet shops and res-taurants from selling endangered animals,” said Wong.
Among endangered species found in forests are sambar deer, flying foxes, bearded pigs, tapirs and gibbons.
“The state has also recently allocated RM5 million, under the Selangorku budget, to be used for protecting and conserving the environment,” Wong said.
This fund will further help the respective environmental department conduct a biodiversity audit and carry out projects to identify all wildlife species found in the forest.