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Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

Malaysia

Forest being cleared illegally by developer to build resort, locals claimed

The Star/ANN | Ivan Loh | Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014

The hilly terrain of Kampung Geruntum being cleared to make way for a project.

Once it was a pristine site for white-water rafting enthusiasts to enjoy the clean and superb lush green forest view at Kampung Geruntum in Gopeng.

Now, charred ground and uprooted trees greet tourists at the area where a well-known white-water rafting site was located, riling up nature lovers and locals there.

A check by The Star there found that a vast area of the hilly slope has been "disfigured", with dried up shrubs and dead plants, and with only a scant number of trees still rooted to the ground.

A local, Mat (not his real name), claimed that the land was being cleared "illegally" by a developer who wanted to build a resort there.

"We understood that the hilly slope is part of reserve land and government property.

"To be able to clear the land means the developer has strong connections with the government," said the 31-year-old odd-job worker.

"Some of the folk here have lodged reports with the Forestry Department. Their officers came to look at the area but no further action was taken," he said.

Mat said the locals were unhappy with the current condition of the forest land there.

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