Loggers block media from investigating Janda Baik logging

This post is put up on behalf of Janda Baik resident Christine Lim, who is trying to raise awareness on the destructive logging in Janda Baik. This is her English translation of a Bernama article carried by Free Malaysia Today.


Loggers prevent media from investigating logging in Janda Baik
Bernama | October 11, 2016
They prevented the passage of the media and environmental activists who wanted to see the uncontrolled logging activities of the past 20 years in the Permanent Forest Estate of Janda Baik


BENTONG: The greed of those carrying out uncontrolled logging activities in the Permanent Forest Estate of Janda Baik over the past 20 years is a nightmare for the close to 2,000 residents of Janda Baik Village.

Their livelihoods are increasingly affected because five major tributaries including Ulu Sungai Benus, Sungai Kuala Lurau and Sungai Tampik, which supplied clean water and were tourist attractions, have been “raped” by certain parties for their own interests.

Accordingly, the Association for the Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia (PEKA) has taken the initiative to defend the plight of the villagers by urging the cessation of logging activity before the situation worsens.

President Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said that although the various parties deny the situation, Peka has clear evidence that the deforestation is increasingly serious.

As proof, PEKA and several media agencies including Bernama surveyed the area and found that forest clearing is still in progress.

Among the proof they found is a new trail enabling log removal that was found 3 kilometers deep into the forest, when they entered by a 4-wheel-drive vehicle.

However, when the parties involved became aware of the presence of PEKA and the media, they acted to block the passage they were clearing by placing the equipment in the middle of the route.

Sabrina Shariffa described their actions as extreme because not only do they harm the environment but they also affect the livelihood of the majority of the local population who provide homestays.

“This is a permanent forest reserve. Janda Baik is an ecotourism area but it is losing the natural resources such as rivers, including flora and fauna.

“I feel this is unfair to the residents who have invested money to provide homestays. They are disappointed and they are now speaking out to stop the logging because it has gone overboard,” she said.

She said her organization is always monitoring the situation in the area but needed the cooperation of local residents to ensure that those responsible stop their logging activities.

“It is time for the residents to take action out of desperation. PEKA will always provide support for the welfare of the population and the environment before we lose this valuable resource,” she said.

Meanwhile, local area representative Mat Sabri Ahmad Malek, 58, said that such activities do not only affect the income of the population but also cause several other problems such as mud floods, shallow waters, and decreasing fish population.

“We are no longer able to cope with this situation. We, with PEKA’s help, will put up barriers immediately for the good of all,” said he, who used to work in freshwater aquaculture.

Jefri Jais, who represents the tourist guides in the area, also expressed disappointment in the steep recent decline in the number of tourists in this ecotourism area, which has been deeply felt.

He claimed that tourist visits to the area have fallen by about 50% as many are aware of the destruction of flora and fauna.