The Selangor Forestry Department has not responded to the more than 45,000 objections from Indigenous peoples, Malaysian citizens, and local representatives to the proposed removal of “forest reserve” status of over 930 hectares of ancestral land customarily owned by the largely Temuan Indigenous people. Instead, the Selangor Forestry Department is likely to proceed with the degazetting, disregarding the principle of free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples and putting corporate development ahead of the welfare of citizens.
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Chief Minister of Selangor
YAB Dato’ Amirudin Shari
Pejabat Menteri Besar Selangor, Tingkat 21,
Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, Shah Alam, Selangor, 40503 Malaysia
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Dato’ Azmil Mohd Zabidi
Embassy of Malaysia
3516 International Court NW,
Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 572 9700
Fax: 202 572 9882
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Dear YAB Tuan Amirudin Shari,
I am writing to strongly object to the proposed degazetting of 930.93 hectares of Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve by the Selangor Forestry Department in order to make way for a mixed development. The proposed area is home to four Temuan Indigenous settlements and, if this land is degazetted, more than 1,000 Indigenous people will be displaced and forced to relocate.
I am gravely concerned that this degazetting of land disregards the rights of Indigenous peoples in Malaysia who have often faced encroachment on their land because of development projects, and have been summarily dispossessed of their lands, forced from their homes, and made to witness the depletion and degradation of natural resources they customarily own. It is further distressing to learn that the clearing and development of the land is estimated to result in the release of 5.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming and climate change.
The proposal has received over 45,000 objections by concerned Malaysian citizens, protests from affected communities, a unanimous decision to protect the forest in the Selangor state legislative assembly, and the attention of international organisations. Concerns have also been raised regarding the arrangements of the September 2020 public town hall on this issue, which was held on short notice and at a place over an hour away from the affected communities, posing barriers to access.
I am further concerned that the consultation process violates free, prior and informed consent rights, which the Malaysian government committed to when it voted in favour of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007 and the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014.
I urge your office to act swiftly to protect Indigenous people and their land in Selangor. Specifically, I call on you to:
• Immediately cease the order to degazette KLNFR as ‘forest reserve’;
• Work with the Department of Orang Asli Development and take immediate and concrete steps to ensure that KLNFR is gazetted as ‘Orang Asli land’; and
• Ensure the full consultation of the Temuan Indigenous community and obtain their free, prior, and informed consent in all plans around the compliance of the gazetting of KLNFR.