Saturday, May 17, 2008

Another 400ha of land illegally cleared in Selangor - The Star


The state government has identified another 400ha of land which has been illegally cleared at the Raja Musa Forest Reserve and planted with oil palm trees.

Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim said the site was a short distance from the illegal clearing found earlier and seemed to be outside the water catchment area but still within the forest reserve.

“Judging from the oil palm trees there, it seems the land had been cleared at least three years ago and we suspect the same syndicate (as highlighted earlier) is involved,” he told a media conference Friday.

It was reported on May 7 that 650ha of land in the water catchment area in Kuala Selangor, including the Raja Musa Forest Reserve, had been illegally cleared by a syndicate over the past two to three years.

The syndicate later “sold” plots of land at the site for farming even though it did not own them.

Ng said the syndicate had also leased land for farming at the new site without any documentation and farmers were charged RM1,500 for each 0.8ha plot.

He said the farmers involved had also shown him letters, which were signed when they leased the land and there were letters of support with the letterheads from the office of a former state assemblyman.

He said he would urge the state government and relevant departments to look into the authenticity of the letters.

Ng also disputed a recent statement by former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo claiming that activities at the earlier site had only started several months before.

“I have proof that this has been going on for years and when the time comes, I will expose the full details of the activities,” he said.

Earlier, Selangor New Village Development and Illegal Factory Task Force Committee chairman Ean Yong Hian Wah said the state government was looking into ways to resolve land ownership problems faced by about 350 villagers in Bagan Sekinchan and Kampung Baru Sekinchan.

He said a number of villagers in Kampung Baru Sekinchan were still waiting for their land titles despite having paid the premiums to renew their leases.

Another large group, he said, complained that their names appeared on titles for land belonging to their neighbours while the land they occupied was under someone else's name.

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