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Perak Government should Act Instead of Merely Talk, Against Loss of Mangrove Forest.

Media Statement
M. Kula Segaran

(Ipoh, Wednesday):
How many times more will the Perak Government tell us about the serious and increasing damage done to the mangrove forest in the State? How long will they continue to merely moan and groan about this serious threat to our environment?

 A recent press reports tells us that the mud crab catchers of Sungai Dinding near Sitiawan are a dying breed. Not because, it seems, the demand for crabs has declined, but more so that the depleting mangrove forests have literally driven the crabs out of their homes. According to the mud crabs catchers, the crabs will become extinct soon.

 The Perak Government has set up a committee to look into the problems of depleting mangrove. The committee is supposed to investigate the illegal clearing of the mangrove swamps for setting up prawn - breeding farms. Apparently, they are still looking and investigating.

 Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali said recently that there are some 2.000 illegal farms in the district with a total investment of about RM 120 millions.

Most of the prawns are exported to Singapore, China and Taiwan.

 On the same day, Pangkor state assemblyman Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir told the press that as much as 800 hectares of mangrove forest in the district of Manjung in Perak have been cleared for prawn - breeding projects.

 He said the Perak Government has been promoting the prawn breeding as it is big revenue earner for Perak. However, he said, there has been indiscriminate felling of trees.

 Dr Zambry said the authorities were monitoring the environmental damage and the status of those whose live hood depend on mangrove forest, such as crab catchers.

 The Perak Government should make up its mind: to stand up to protect the mangrove forest and the environment at large as well as the livelihood of the crab catchers or to encourage the prawn breeders and have the environment destroyed. It cannot have it both ways.

 Only about eight months ago, in the immediate aftermath of the horrific tsunami of December 26, 2004, everybody was reminding everybody else that the mangrove forests must not be damaged. Otherwise, the environment would be destroyed, and public safely could be endangered.

 Now it seems, for the sake of money, the Perak State Government, Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli and other EXCO members are prepared to be inactive against environmental damage. What a shame!




* M. Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh  Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman

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