Friday, 8 May 2009

Oil palm plantation crops into prime land

Thursday May 7, 2009 - The Star

KOTA BARU: The Kelantan Government has approved 1,000ha of land in the Gunung Stong tourist belt to a local company for an oil palm plantation.

State Economic Planning, Finance and Welfare committee chairman Datuk Husam Musa said the government had approved the land to Maxson Sdn Bhd, whose biggest shareholder is Ruzaini Razak.

Husam, however, declined to disclose the exact location of the approved area or whether the land there had high logging potential.

“I am not at liberty to say whether the area is a forest or not, but it has been approved for an oil palm plantation,” he told reporters yesterday after the weekly state exco meeting at Kota Darul Naim, here.

Gunung Stong is a well-known destination for tourists, both local and foreign, and is considered a gem among Kelantan’s tourist attractions.

WWF Malaysia is producing a preliminary management plan for the Gunung Stong State Park in collaboration with the Kelantan State Forestry Department.

A forested area covering 21,950ha, with several prominent mountain peaks, Gunung Stong is home to one of the tallest waterfalls in Malaysia, the seven-tier Jelawang Falls.

It is also an important wildlife habitat and is linked to the main range. Wildlife recorded in the area included elephants, tigers, tapirs and hornbills.

An important water catchment area for the Kelantan River, it plays a significant role in flood and drought regulation.

South Kelantan where Gunung Stong is located is an area rich in wild plants, many of which are only found in this part of the world.