“I am very happy the exco is continuing to look after forest reserves to prevent encroachment, but don’t do this to the extent of neglecting to look after your own ‘forest’,” he said.
(Saya juga cukup amat gembira kerana exco menjaga kawasan-kawasan ... teruskan menjalankan aktiviti mengawas hutan-hutan simpanan ini daripada diceroboh ... jangan sampai lupa jaga hutan diri you sendiri.)
He said this after challenging Wong, whose portfolio includes the environment and tourism, to sue The Star over its report on a residential project which allegedly encroached into the Templer Park forest reserve.
“Just now he (Isa - right) tried to be naughty. Never mind, this is Umno-BN’s character, we are already aware of it, no need to answer. You and I know.
“Never mind, if you want to insult women, go ahead. This is Umno-BN,” Wong said, before continuing her speech.
At a press conference later, she said this is the behaviour expected of BN elected representatives and all women should reject them.
Forest reserve intact
However, the presiding deputy speaker Haniza Talha was silent on the issue when it happened.
Later, women’s affairs exco member Rodziah Ismail took the opportunity during her policy-stage budget debate closing remarks to suggest that Isa should be referred to the rights and privileges committee for punishment.
She said the remarks were so “sexist and vulgar” that she did not want to repeat it in the assembly, and urged the people to reject any elected representative who do not respect women, especially Isa.
As for the allegations front-paged on The Star on Nov 20, Wong said it gave a “false impression” that the Templer Forest Reserve is being destroyed, and that the area photographed is beyond the park boundaries.
The report quoted the Malaysian Nature Society expressing concerns about logging in the park to make way for bungalows and an elevated expressway.
However, Wong said the affected area is actually Templer Park which has been developed in phases since 1987.
As for the forest reserve, she said the area remained untouched since the Pakatan Rakyat government took over in 2008.
“If there is a Taman (Templer), there is no more forest,” she said at the press conference when emphasising that the Templer Park and Templer Forest Reserve are different entities.
No approval for hillslope development
She also said that no approvals were given for hillslope developments mentioned in The Star’s report and the matter had been referred to the Technical Committee on Development in Environmentally Sensitive Areas.
Wong added that there is also illegal land clearing on private land near Templer Park, and the company responsible has already been compounded twice before being issued a stop-work order.
Separately, the report also alleged that 39.44 hectares are being cleared at the Kanching Forest Reserve to make way for the Rawang Bypass, which is under the federal government’s Public Works Department.
Wong explained that the project approved in 2005 originally called for 477 hectares of land, but was reduced to 30 hectares by re-routing it to the forest edge, insisting that the highway is elevated and that any trees felled have been replanted, among other mitigation measures.
“The actual affected forest reserve land is estimated to be even lower at 15 hectares,” she said.
She said the public have been consulted on the project in 2007 and the 18,000-odd responses were overwhelmingly in favour of the toll-free expressway.
Wong also stressed that the project was merely given “right of way” because it is felt that it would alleviate traffic congestion suffered by the people of Rawang and Serendah, but the affected land is still classified as a forest reserve and under state ownership