PM: State govts to act against illegal occupation in forest reserves by June

KUALA LUMPUR: The 79th National Land Council Meeting has agreed on the enforcement actions and solutions against illegal land occupation in Peninsular Malaysia’s permanent forest reserves, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic).

He said the meeting on Thursday (Dec 2), which he chaired through video conferencing, also agreed that all state governments should take similar actions by June 1.

Apart from that, the prime minister said the meeting also agreed in principle with the implementation of a 15-year moratorium on approvals for new forest plantations in permanent forest reserves in the peninsula.

He said there are currently 127,050.25ha of forest plantation development zones in permanent forest reserves in the country yet to be approved for any company.

“Before the moratorium is imposed on these areas, state governments wishing to continue the development of forest plantations must conduct detailed consultations with the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry.

“This is to ensure that the companies appointed comply with all conditions set out in their concession agreements and other relevant laws,” he said in a statement on Friday (Dec 3).

According to Ismail Sabri, the meeting also agreed that a Bill on the proposed amendments to Sections 11 and 12 of the National Forestry Act 1984, which had been approved by the Attorney General’s Chambers on Dec 3 last year, and the Cabinet on Jan 6, will be tabled in Parliament in the first session of next year.

In that context, he said, enforcement of the Bill would only be applied in the states after the state legislative assemblies amended their respective Forestry (Adoption) Enactments.

During Thursday’s meeting, Ismail Sabri said the land council also ratified decisions at the 1st National Mineral Council Meeting chaired by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali on Feb 16.

He said the land council meeting was attended by, among others, 10 representatives from the Federal Government comprising senior ministers, the relevant ministers, mentris besar and chief ministers or their representatives.

It was held in accordance with Article 91 (5) of the Federal Constitution which is to form from time to time, through consultation among the Federal Government, state governments and National Finance Council, a national policy to develop and control land use in the federation for the purpose of mining, agriculture, forestry or any other purpose and to administer any law thereon. – Bernama