Thursday October 11, 2012
National Highlands policy needed, says WWF
CAMERON HIGHLANDS: WWF-Malaysia has called for a National Highlands Policy in light of recent reports of forest clearing here.
Its executive director and chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said this issue had been highlighted by the media and locals many times.
”Relevant government agencies, NGOs and community-based organisations (CBOs) in Cameron Highlands must find a long-term solution as well as ensure sustainable development of this highland resort,” he said in a statement, adding that a state-level committee should be formed.
Dr Sharma said the forests in Cameron Highlands provided vital needs to the ecosystem including soil protection and acted as an important water catchment area.
He said water shortages had been reported in the past, especially during peak holiday seasons.
“If forest clearing is not curbed, the problem can only worsen,” he warned.
He stressed it was vital for the authorities to engage the NGOs and CBOs to monitor activities in the highlands and report wrongdoing.
Dr Sharma pointed out that implementation on the ground “remained poor” despite policies such as the National Physical Plan-2 (NPP-2).
He said the NPP-2 stated that agricultural development could only be done outside of forest reserves and water catchment areas.
The plan also states that no further excision of permanent forest reserves is allowed.
“In line with the NPP-2, a Special Area Plan should be formulated for Cameron-Highlands-Kinta-Lojing to ensure sustainable development of the area,” he said.