Selangor Journal
Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad speaking during the question and answer session at Dewan Rakyat, Kuala Lumpur, on March 14, 2023. — Picture by BERNAMA

Adopt National Forestry Act amendments immediately, minister tells states

KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — All state governments have been urged to adopt the amendments in the National Forestry Act 1984 (Act 313) without delay, in efforts to protect water catchment areas in forests nationwide.

Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said so far only Perlis has done so after the National Forestry (Amendment) Bill was passed in July last year.

“We have an abundance of water resources, we are hit by floods and so forth, but if we don’t take care of the forests, cut down trees…. even if we have several forest reserves as watersheds throughout the country, we will see the impacts on rivers.

“The water sources for drinking will be affected or will require a large amount of resources before it can be consumed. So, we hope the other states will expedite the amendments,” he said during question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He said this in reply to a supplementary question from Tebrau MP Jimmy Puah Wee Tse regarding the measures taken to ensure sufficient supply of clean water following the increasing temperature of the earth, especially in states that fail to take the appropriate measures to address the issue of water supply.

Last July, the Dewan Rakyat passed the National Forestry (Amendment) Bill 2022, which aims to strengthen forest enforcement in combating the illegal harvesting of forest products and increasing forest preservation and conservation activities.

The amendment involves 62 clauses that cover eight of the 10 sections to improve Act 313 and allow harsher penalties to be taken against offenders.

In addition, he said the government is also currently using water reservoir technology or off-river storage whereby water from the river is stored and later used for flood mitigation so that not all the water enters the river basin.

“This will be a source of water supply and this approach has been adopted in Sungai Rasau, where a riverside water catchment project has been built today for flood mitigation.

“The water source is then used to reduce dependence on Sungai Klang, so there is no need to concentrate on Sungai Selangor, which is the source of water supply for the people of Selangor,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nik Nazmi said the government has introduced several initiatives in integrating aspects of adaptation in development processes to combat  the effects of climate change.

“We always talk about mitigation to reduce climate change but in the current state of the country, mitigation alone is not enough.

“We also have to take an adaptation approach where we need to accept that climate change is happening and has reached a certain extent, therefore we are required to adapt to the change,” he said.

— Bernama

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