CAMERON HIGHLANDS – The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is intensifying efforts in planting more trees this year after it achieved its campaign target of four million trees in 2014.
Its minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said the move was to conserve land which had been subjected to illegal land clearing and rampant logging activities and to prevent the recurrence of natural disasters such as floods and landslides.
“We need to control and take action, for instance we have started to implement tree planting in Janda Baik, Pahang.
“In Cameron Highlands, in the past four months we have succeeded in planting 600 trees and among the species planted are Damar Minyak, Podo Kebal Musang Gunung and Meranti Bukit,” he told reporters after visiting the Lembah Bertam Flood Mitigation Project in Ringlet here, today.
As for tree planting in states affected by the recent floods, he said the ministry was waiting for a full report on environmental damage incurred apart from report on areas of excessive logging and encroachment activities.
Last Tuesday when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak visited flood-stricken Kelantan, he said he did not rule out the possibility of the human aspect as a contributing factor to the devastating floods.
Najib had said land exploitation especially excessive logging had an adverse effect on the environment as when it rained the lack of trees as retainers would not be able to slow down or reduce runoff.
In another development, Palanivel, who is also the MP for Cameron Highlands, said he would discuss with Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on the shortage of foreign labour to meet the needs of the agricultural sector in the district.
He said he had received many complaints from farmers who were operating legally here on their difficulties in running their business without the help of foreign workers.
A large number of illegal foreign workers who had been hired to work in Cameron Highlands mainly in the vegetable farms ran away when Ops Gading was conducted by several law enforcement agencies and departments last November to hunt them down.
Earlier, Palanivel had visited a two-acre tree replanting site at Terla Forest Reserve as well as Kampung Raja dan Taman Desa Corina where a landslide tragedy had occurred. – BERNAMA