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Pahang Regent wants mining at Chini Lake stopped, calls for expansion of forest reserve

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The Regent of Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has ordered for the Chini Forest Reserve in Pekan, with an area of 4,600 hectares, to be expanded to 6,000 or up to 7,000 hectares.

Comptroller of the Royal Household of the Sultan of Pahang, Datuk Ahmad Khirrizal Ab Rahman said the royal command was aimed at protecting and conserving the flora and fauna in the Tasik Chini area.

Tengku Hassanal, according to Ahmad Khirrizal, made a surprise visit to Tasik Chini yesterday following the reports and photos that went viral on social media of late, which claimed mining activities occurring in the area.

“The Regent has also gone through the Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail’s report on the mining activities and rehabilitation and conservation measures undertaken by the state government.

“Tengku Hassanal agreed with the state government’s measure of not issuing any new permit (for mining) since 2019, besides proposing mining activities at Tasik Chini be stopped,” he said in a statement, here, today.

For the record, the Pahang Land and Mines Office had announced that no (mining) approval was given after the gazetting of Tasik Chini State Park as Chini Forest Reserve in March 2019.

Prior to that, 14 mining licences were issued and of the total, only two are still operational, with one of them valid until the end of this month and the other until the year-end.

Ahmad Khirrizal said Tengku Hassanal has also ordered that the former mining areas be rehabilitated by planting suitable forest trees, besides intensifying the preservation and conservation activities undertaken by the state and federal governments.

Tengku Hassanal has also ordered enforcement activities be boosted and carried out in an integrated manner and regularly involving state and federal enforcement agencies.

The Regent also expressed hope that Tasik Chini, which is given the biosphere reserve status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), would be given priority in financial allocation and sustainable development by the Environment and Water Ministry and Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

“Tengku Hassanal said Tasik Chini is nature’s diamond in Pahang and the global recognition as the first Unesco biosphere reserve in Malaysia must be safeguarded.

“The Regent is concerned and will always monitor the state government’s efforts in ensuring that Pahang’s environment is always taken care of.

“Tengku Hassnal also urged all parties to practise good environmental, social and governance principles, so that nature’s treasures will be preserved for future generations,” he said. — Bernama