By Batu Caves SIG
PETALING JAYA, Malaysia--We, the undersigned NGOs and concerned citizens are shocked by recent open burning next to Batu Caves limestone hill.
We recall how a 2016 fire scarred the east of the hill, reaching an elevation of 325-m. The unique limestone forest, including rare palms, were burned up to the Puncak Kapal Tanggang peak.
Following the fire, Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah called for greater protection for the Batu Caves hill.
However, a third of the 145-ha hill remains unprotected. The last five years since the fire have seen the state government giving the hill no additional protection.
Batu Caves is the best-studied limestone hill in Southeast Asia with many valuable natural-history characteristics that are threatened.
We now call on the state to give protection to the whole of the Batu Caves hill and its buffer zones. We must avoid another damaging fire.
More troubling, we find that the state government has issued private land titles inside the Batu Caves reserve. Survey department maps show 17 parcels of land have been granted inside the reserve.
Granting land inside a reserve is against the provisions of the National Land Code 1956.
We therefore demand that the Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari provide an explanation. Any land titles that were granted unlawfully should be cancelled. The Batu Caves reserve must be expanded, not cut back.
The Batu Caves is presently reserved for “public recreation”. The state must respect Batu Caves as a national treasure.
Otherwise we risk losing this site which holds unique species and outstanding ecological, geological, and cultural value.
1. Batu Caves Special Interest Group (Batu Caves SIG)
2. Resource Stewardship Consultants Sdn Bhd (RESCU)
3. Treat Every Environment Special Sdn Bhd (TrEES)
4. Malaysian Cave & Karst Conservancy (MCKC)
5. Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam ( PEKA )
6. GRASS Malaysia
7. Sahabat Alam Malaysia
8. Global Environment Centre (GEC)
9. Greenpeace Malaysia
10. Persatuan Tindakan Alam Sekitar Kuala Langat
11. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)
12. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
13. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
14. Agora Society Malaysia
16. Sustainable Development Network Malaysia
17. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
1. Justin Wong, concerned citizen
2. Aliza Khalid, concerned citizen
3. Shaq Koyok, Orang Asli activist