Selangor state government to allow Expressway to cut through protected Forest Reserve
The Selangor state government approved to cut an Expressway through the Ampang Forest Reserve - a water catchment forest and part of the Selangor State Park, which is a protected area which is moreover the only state park in Selangor. The Expressway will cause fragmentation to the last remaining contiguous forest in Selangor. This in essence, not in tandem with the Central Forest Spine initiative – an initiative to safeguard contiguous forests in Peninsular Malaysia and create ecological linkages where forests have been fragmented. Millions of ringgits are needed to create or enhance ecological linkages where forests have been fragmented due to roads and other developments, as such not allowing fragmentation to occur makes economic sense in the long run. Traffic jams were cited as the reason for approval but in WWF-Malaysia’s opinion, allowing a highway to cut through water catchment forests is definitely not the solution to ease traffic jams.
Derek Fernandez, who is also a former Petaling Jaya councillor, said the forest reserve was critical for the environment as it provides enviromental and ecological life support to the urban population. "No highway can ever justify this (cutting through the forest) where the forest reserve is in an urbanised area. "The state government should not view forest reserves as a cheap or convenient source of land for highway concessionaires when in fact its the costliest land as it can never be replaced once destroyed," he said in a text message to The Malaysian Insider.
Fernandez was commenting on a story published in The Malaysian Insider this morning which cited environment group Treat Every Environment Special (TrEES) as saying that the highway would cut through a critical source of water for the Klang Valley.
MB keeping a close watch on Expressway project
The Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali has given his assurances that all environmental and safety precautions will be taken in the construction of the East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE) project.
He said the state was working closely with Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM), Public Works Department (JKR) and project proponent Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd (AZRB) in the design and construction of the highway. Azmin, who described the current traffic situation in the area as a “nightmare,” said there was a necessity for a highway there.