The Star, Saturday March 2, 2013
By STUART MICHAEL
Photos by P. NATHAN
OFFICERS from the Hulu Langat Land Office and the Selangor Forestry Department raided sites of illegal logging, sand mining and rubish dumping operations in Kampung Pasir, Batu 18, Semenyih on Thursday. They were taking action following a story on the illegal activities that was published on the same day in StarMetro.
However, the authorities were left red faced and empty-handed as the operators had absconded with the machinery.
The raid was closely monitored by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) but to no avail. Also, officers from the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) were not present during the raid despite numerous invitations to participate.
This is not the first time such an issue has cropped up in the area. StarMetro had on April 3 last year published a story on an illegal sand mining operation in Hulu Langat, which implicated an officer from the land office who was believed to be on the take.
However, during the raid, rangers from the Forestry Department did find and tag 50 logs on the 8ha site. The logs looked like they had been arranged for easy transportation.
Central Selangor district forest officer Awang Shaffie Awang Ahmadni said the department was still trying to determine if the site was on private or state land. “If the timber is transported out of the site, we can seize the logs and nab the culprits.
“If it is private land, the operator can be charged under Section 84 (1) of the National Forestry Act 1984, which carries a jail term of up to five years or a maximum fine of RM50,000; or both.
“If it is state land, we can charge the operator under Section 15 of the same Act, which prohibits the taking of forest produce from permanent reserved forests or state forests without a licence. This carries a jail term of up to 20 years or a maximum fine of RM500,000; or both. “We will continue to monitor the site as it is the first time we have come here,” Awang Shaffie said.
At the sand mining site in Kampung Pasir, a huge pile of washed sand measuring some 6m in height could be seen with suction pumps and fresh excavator tracks next to it. Hulu Langat District Office settlement officer Mustafa Fadli Anuar said they could not take any action because there were no excavators or lorries on the site. He also said the operator was nowhere to be found.
The landowner had lodged a report with the Kajang police station on Feb 25, claiming that he had been kicked out of his own land and illegal sand mining was being carried out at the site. Mustafa said since there was a police report, the district office would wait for police investigations to be concluded.
He added that the enforcement team would patrol the area regularly and monitor the site. “If we find any lorries leaving the illegal sand mine, we will stop them and fine the drivers,” Mustafa said.
The illegal dumpsite near the sand mine was also deserted but household waste could be seen strewn throughout the area, threatening to spill into and foul the nearby Sungai Lalang.
The operator of a canteen at Nirvana Memorial Park said he had made numerous complaints to MPKj after noticing many flies in the area but nothing had been done.
Mustafa was again unsure if the site was on private or public land and would leave it to MPKj to check on the issue.
“If it is state land, the site needs to be shut down and whoever is responsible for it can be charged under Section 425 of the Land Act 1965, which carries a penalty of RM10,000 or a one-year jail term; or both.
“If it is on private land, the land itself can be seized under Section 7A and 7B of the National Land Code.
“The Department of Environment can also take action on the dumpsite operator,” he said.