SHAH ALAM: The Selangor government will not sell part of the Shah Alam Botanical Garden in Bukit Cerakah, according to tourism, consumer affairs and environment executive councillor Elizabeth Wong.
“It was never degazetted as a forest reserve. We can’t sell it. Even if the ministry (of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry) wants to sell it after taking over the garden, they can’t, because it has been gazetted,”she said.
About a week ago, a member of the Selangor state executive council, Yaakob Sapari, told a local daily that the state government was considering selling 40.5ha of the garden, and the money kept in a trust fund.
Yaakob said the trust fund would be used to manage the garden once the state took over the management.
Wong said the state had more than enough reserves to manage the garden and did not need to raise money by selling part of the land.
The issue surfaced nearly two weeks ago when Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar alleged that the state wanted to take over the management of the garden and subsequently planned to sell part of it to raise funds.
The minister had asked the state to honour a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the previous state government and the federal government five years ago by leasing the land to the federal government for 60 years.
Wong said the land remained under the state government and it was up to the state whether they would sign the contract.
“The land is ours. We will only sign if the terms are satisfying,” she said.
She said negotiations were going on between officials from the state and the ministry regarding the contract, that would enable both parties to jointly manage the garden.
“But the most important aspect would be the funds allocated for this garden. Under the initial MoU, more than RM100 million was to be allocated to manage it. We want similar funds to help manage this place,” she said.
Wong said a committee, chaired by her, had been established to oversee the Shah Alam Botanical Garden issue.
On Yaakob’s earlier statement, she said it could have been one of few suggestions tabled during the committee’s discussions previously.
“But I have said no to a host of suggestions,” she said.
Wong, who is the Bukit Lanjan assemblyman, also said Selangor has not sold any of its forest reserves.
She said the state was the only one to have increased its forest reserve area, which now stood at 31 per cent of the whole state.
Article Source http://www.mmail.com.my/story/state-stands-firm-land-issue