Command centre to fight illegal deforestation

Command centre to fight illegal deforestation
File photo of a forest land

CAMERON HIGHLANDS - A command centre, under the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, will be set up to manage and patrol forest areas to deter unscrupulous people from clearing land here.

"We will streamline and have a systematic approach to patrol the forest areas to try to catch and stop people from burning and cutting down trees," ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Zoal Azha Yusoff told the media yesterday.

Earlier, he accompanied minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel on a visit to a site that had been cleared in Lojing, Kelantan.

Zoal Azha said government agencies involved in the command centre included the Land Office and the Drainage and Irrigation Department.

"At the moment, we have 10 to 15 officers involved and they will be conducting the patrols," he said, adding that unmanned aerial drones would be used to capture photographs of culprits in action.

Palanivel said he would discuss with Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on issuing temporary occupation licences (TOLs) to certain farmers to stop them from clearing new land.

"We can't evict them. Agriculture is important. But the farmers need to follow regulations," said Palanivel, who is Cameron Highlands MP.

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