Revoke EIA for road passing through tiger conservation park – RimbaWatch
No way to build it without deforestation, exposing endangered species to human-wildlife conflict
RIMBAWATCH is appalled that the Environment Department (DoE) has chosen to approve environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for a road which passes through Rizab Harimau (tiger reserve) Diraja Al-Sultan Abdullah and demands this approval be rescinded with immediate effect.
In 2022, two EIAs entitled “Environmental Impact Assessment Jalan Kg Pasir Raja, Hulu Dungun, Terengganu ke Sempadan Terengganu/Pahang (Fasa 3a) (Reka Bina)” and “Projek Jalan Kg Mat Daling, Jerantut, Pahang ke Sempadan Pahang/Terengganu (Fasa 3b)(Reka & Bina) CH 0.000 Hingga CH 6200.00 (Zone A)” were approved by the DoE.
These EIAs are for the Pasir Raja-Mat Daling road project, which has been proposed for a number of years. The contents of these environmental impact assessments have never been made public.
Recently, RimbaWatch has sighted an accurate map of the alignment of the proposed road, along with a map of Rizab Harimau.
RimbaWatch has found that the road will dissect the forests of eastern Pahang near the Terengganu border, and separate the forests of Taman Negara in the north to the forests of Ulu Tembeling in the south, which is one of Malaysia’s largest remaining contiguous area of forest.
We have been able to confirm that the majority of the road’s proposed 52km alignment will pass directly through Rizab Harimau. In particular, the road will involve deforesting the Gunung Aais Forest Reserve (which is a component of Rizab Harimau), and which has been a “hutan perlindungan” (protected forest) for some time.
RimbaWatch believes this to be a virgin forest which has never been logged before.
Human-tiger conflict has already materialised from the expansion of roads into the area. Just last year, a tiger was spotted on a newly built road near Kg Mat Daling.
RimbaWatch maintains that there is no way to build a road through a highly sensitive protected area without creating deforestation, impacting wildlife connectivity, and exposing endangered species to human-wildlife conflict and poaching.
In order to protect Malaysia’s remaining 100 tigers, the ecological integrity of this park is key. With the above in mind, we call on the Environment Department to:
1. Revoke the EIA approval of this project immediately
2. Release the contents of the EIA and associated documents to the public
3. Commit to not approving EIAs involving deforestation or degradation of protected areas in the future.
– The Vibes, June 12, 2023
(RimbaWatch is an environmental watchdog building an independent, timely and open inventory of data and analytics on deforestation, climate change and human rights issues in Malaysia)