Posted by: ulumuda | October 21, 2008

Plan to gazette Ulu Muda as national park (The Star, 18 August 2008)

A PROPOSAL will be tabled at the Kedah state assembly sitting on Aug 25 to gazette the Ulu Muda Forests as a national park.

Derga assemblyman Dr Cheah Soon Hai said this was the best way to conserve the precious water catchment areas in the 160,000ha of forest reserves.

“It is important for economic growth as three states (Perlis, Kedah and Penang) are dependent on the catchments areas for water supply for domestic, industrial and agricultural sectors,’’ he said.

He said this after opening a public forum on ‘Save Ulu Muda Forests’ organised by the Malaysia Nature Society Kedah branch in Alor Star recently.

The forum was organised to create public awareness on the need to protect the forest reserves following a recent announcement by Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak that the state was studying the possibility of carrying out heli-logging activities in the area to remove decaying old trees.

Nature lovers, on high alert following the announcement, revived the Friends of Ulu Muda II initiative to save the forests.

Dr Cheah, who is the sole Gerakan assemblyman in the state, said gazetting the forest would allay fears of logging and development activities in environmentally sensitive zones.

Hor Tek Lip of the Muda Agricultural Development Au-thority (Mada), who was one of the six speakers at the forum, said the proposal to gazette Ulu Muda as a National Park and Wildlife Protection Area was included in the Kedah Structural Plan 2002-2014.

“But I am not at liberty to furnish further information,’’ he said.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia research officer Shamsul Ery Samsudin Ulu Muda said gazetting the area as a national park would help protect the area against logging activities.

Water Watch Penang committee member Hong Chern Wern said the Kedah Government should not be shortsighted by compromising long-term benefits for short-term gains.

He said the proposed logging would pollute water re-sources, reduce water supply, increase downstream flooding and contribute to global warming.

WWF Malaysia protected areas conservation manager Surin Suksuwan called on the stakeholders including the Kedah and Penang Governments to develop a framework to source financial revenues to fund conservation efforts.

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