Quite sometime back, I wrote about the suspicious move by the previous Selangor State Government to change the status of the Forest Reserve within Kota Damansara to make way for a large Muslim cemetery.
Though no one was able to (or not willing to) come forward to either deny or confirm the story then, the present ADUN for Kota Damansara, Dr Nasir, has brought the matter up to the present State Government, and they have acted accordingly. Below, is an email from Dr Nasir sent to the egroup for Kota Damansara. Kindly note the sentence/s in bold, especially in red.
“KOTA DAMANSARA FOREST WILL BE GAZETTED IN THREE MONTHS “ MENTERI BESAR SELANGOR .
It was a very joyous occasion for residents of Kota Damansara when Selangor Menteri Besar announced that the Kota Damansara Forest would be re-gazetted in three months time.Tan Sri Khalid bin Ibrahim attended the Earth Day programme at the Kota Damansara Forest area.
Under the PJ Local Draft Plan 2 (RTPJ2) drafted by the previous BN administration, stated that about 40ha of forested area in Kota Damansara, which is part of the Sungai Buloh Forest Reserve, will be turned into a recreational area. This included the land that has been developed into a Muslim cemetery. It leaves only 26.9ha as the forest reserve. The rest would make way for development, including residential housing.
The Friends of Kota Damansara, the group comprising representatives of Kota Damansara Residents Associations, have been fighting to save the forest from development
The group together with the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) as the adviser have started a campaign to preserve part of the forest, which they have dubbed as the Kota Damansara Community Forest Park.
They even managed to obtain RM380,000 from the United Nations Development Programme through its Small Grants Programme towards efforts to establish the park. The forest is still largely covered by rich lowland forest dominated by meranti-keruing trees, some of which are more than 100 years old. The forest is also rich in wildlife, including 227 species of birds such as black bellied malkohas, crested serpent eagles, kingfishers, broadbills, dollar birds and possibly even the rare argus pheasant. Eight species of mammals and 25 species of reptiles are also found in the area. The Community Forest project was a success and it is the first of its kind in Malaysia.
Since the political tsunami of 8th March,2009,Dr. Nasir Kota Damansara Assemblyman worked together with the FOKD to campaign for the forest to be regazetted. A first meeting was held with YB Elizabeth Wong, the Exco incharge of Enviromental concerns.
Many pro-UMNO quarters tried to divert the issue into a racial one . They were trying to highlight how a ‘predominantly Chinese’ FOKD was trying to stop a ‘Muslim’ cemetery from being build. However the elected representatives, Dr.Nasir ,Sivarasa and Elizabeth Wong stood to their principles . During the Earth Day celebrations last year, they made a commitment to ensure the Kota Damansara Forest be reserved.
The long campaign by FOKD and the residents bore fruits today , when they got the assurance from the Selangor Chief Minister .
“This campaign is very special , as it was participated by the residents to preserve the area as not only as a green area but as a community forest, the rakyat have wholeheartedly understood the importance to preserve the ecosystem and also how the forest helps in community building. This is what we need, we need to empower the people to fight against the greed of the large corporations which seek to exploit our green lung.” Dr.Nasir Hashim.
Pejabat ADUN Kota Damansara.***.***
As I was informed then, the previous SG shifted the approved original Muslim Cemetery site to one which was hilly and rocky, and thus not suitable. The Cemetery was then moved to the present site, giving certain quarters the perfect excuse to level the forest to make way for housing development. Never mind about the flora and fauna there, nor about the forest was once designated as a water catchment area. What mattered was, the RM to be made from the sale of new houses. But Alhamdulillah, though the Muslim Cemetery will not be moved from this location, all other development plans has been put to a stop.
By the way, part of the area in concern was turned into a park, one which I took pictures of and can be found in Painting Pictures here. And what was it those ameno people said: "PAS was using Islam for its political gain?"
All the Pakatan Rakyat states ought to expose and lay bare the misdeeds of those previous administration.