The Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR) degazettement issue started all the way back in February (before the Covid-19 pandemic started). Why the issue deserves your attention? Let’s backtrack a little bit.
The forest itself has been around for over 8,000 years and was first gazetted as a forest reserve in 1927.
It’s importance is manifold and serves as an important green lung to people in the state of Selangor as a carbon sink that reduces the effects of climate change; a cultural heritage for Orang Asli who have lived with the land; minimises flood risks; and the habitat of many living creatures unique to the state.
Here’s a run through of the timeline of events on what has happened so far in our fight to defend and protect this forest reserve, for future generations.
February 5, 2020:
It all started with media notices on the degazettement of KLNFR
Media notices were placed in major newspapers by Selangor Forestry Department notifying the public of their intentions to degazzete the forest reserve for the purpose of a ‘mixed development project’, in accordance with the Public Inquiry (Selangor) Rules 2014 and the National Forestry Act (Adoption) Enactment 1985.
The Selangor State Forestry Department invited stakeholders, especially people living in Kuala Langat district, to make heard their objection towards the degazettement within 30 days of the notice.
March 5, 2020:
Over 45,000 objections to the degazettement of KLNFR
The 30-day period ended with over 45,000 people voicing their objection towards the degazettement. Their objections were received and acknowledged by the state government.
Greenpeace Malaysia, together with our volunteers, went on-ground in areas neighbouring to the forest reserve to collect, then submit over 300 physically signed letters of objection. The signatures collected were then handed over to the Selangor Forestry Department.
Following the pandemic and subsequent Movement Control Order (MCO), all issues relating to the KLNFR degazettement were put on hold.
September 23, 2020:
The issue began heating up again when non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Orang Asli and members of the Kuala Langat community received short notice of a public hearing on the KLNFR degazettement issue only several days prior to the hearing.
September 29, 2020:
Day of public hearing with state government
A select few NGO members received an invitation to participate in the public hearing. On the day itself several NGO members and Orang Asli were barred from entering the venue of the public hearing. Following strong objections at the gate, they were later allowed in.
The public hearing was separated into 3 categories over 2 days: the general public; NGOs; and corporations. The general public hearing, which was scheduled for September 28 was later cancelled due to extreme lack of attendance. The public hearing on 29th had continuous oral submission of objections from start to finish.
On the same day, several NGOs present during the public hearing got together (online) and discussed what would then go on to form the coalition called Pertahankan Hutan Simpan Kuala Langat Utara (PHSKLU).
The PHSKLU coalition consists of 9 NGOs, namely Persatuan Kesedaran dan Keadilan Iklim Malaysia (Klima Action Malaysia- KAMY), SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia), Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (PEKA), Five Arts Centre, Persatuan Tindakan Alam Sekitar Kuala Langat, EMPOWER Malaysia, Parti Sosialis Malaysia, Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (KUASA), and Greenpeace Malaysia.
October 26, 2020:
The PHSKLU coalition began sending out the Letter of Undertaking (Surat AkuJanji) to ADUNs and MPs by email. YB Hannah Yeoh, though not a Selangor MP, signed the letter to show her support on the objection to the degazettement.
October 27, 2020:
The next day, YB Najwan Halimi, Kota Anggerik ADUN followed suit as the first Selangor ADUN to sign the pledge.
October 29, 2020:
Public campaign calling for Rakyat’s support through email actions
The coalition officially launched the campaign to the public with a press conference, aired live on Facebook encouraging the Rakyat to assert their right to a green vote by emailing their elected representatives to voice their objection to the degazettement.
This campaign was widely shared on social media (#hutanpergimana) led by KAMY, Kuasa and Five Arts Centre, with images generated by different visual artists over the course of the campaign. While Greenpeace Malaysia provided our website as a platform for a shared email action that the public could participate in.
October 30, 2020:
YB Lim Yi Wei, Kampung Tunku ADUN signed on to pledge against the degazettement.
November 2, 2020:
YB Chua Wei Kiat, Rawang ADUN and YB Azmizam, Pelabuhan Klang ADUN made the pledge.
November 4, 2020:
YB Edry Faizal, Dusun Tua ADUN signed.
November 9, 2020:
YB June Leow, MP of Hulu Selangor signed on, the only Selangor MP to sign the pledge.
November 11, 2020:
Motion to protect gazetted forests reserves in Selangor unanimously passed
A historic event occurred as the motion to protect all gazetted forest reserves in Selangor, to ensure the conservation and protection of water catchment and forest areas was tabled in the State Assembly (Dewan Undangan Negeri).
The motion (no. 26) was presented by YB Najwan Halimi (Kota Anggerik) and seconded by YB Michelle Ng Mei Sze (Subang Jaya), with several ADUNs including YB Edry Faizal (Dusun Tua), YB Dato’ Mohd Imran (Sungai Panjang), YB Lim Yi Wei (Kampung Tunku), and YB Rajiv (Bukit Gasing) voicing their agreement on the matter. The house then voted and passed the bill unanimously.
So now, what’s next right? The coalition is working diligently to plan for the next phase, and we ask that you keep the momentum by sharing about this campaign with your family and friends. We’ll keep you posted on our upcoming works so stay tuned for our next steps soon.
People Power works! Let’s keep it up to defend our forests and the rights of Orang Asli!