Mangrove forests cleared in Juru, Bukit Tengah, Seberang Perai Tengah, Penang

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Penang government, Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai (MPSP), Drainage and Irrigation Department (JPS), Penang Forestry Department and the Seberang Perai Tengah Land and District Office to investigate the destruction of mangrove forest in Juru, Bukit Tengah. The location to the area is via a bund road starting from the Sungai Belanak Fisherman Jetty towards the Permanent Food Production Park (TKPM), Juru

In a survey along the bund road in Juru, Bukit Tengah recently we were shocked to see machinery used to clear the mangrove forest and the muddy soil being leveled while observed by several individuals there. We also spoke to a number of people passing by the bund road who stated that they did not know the nature of the project to be implemented. Some said it is likely for development of aquaculture ponds.

We are surprised that the small area of remaining mangrove forests in this area has been cleared indiscriminately.Based on information and previous studies we found that more than half of the mangrove forests in the state of Penang were converted before 1990. According to a
study, in the 1950s Penang state was covered with about 3,500 hectares of mangrove forests. The main land use that has reduced the size of the state’s mangroves is for agriculture, industrial and housing.

Land use conversion for agriculture (e.g. oil palm) mostly occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1970, 1980 and 1990, land use conversion were mostly for industrial and housing purposes. The current major challenge for mangrove forests is reclamation for aquaculture projects. Currently, the remaining area of mangrove forests in Penang island and Seberang Perai is not more than 400 ha.

Our query is who had cleared the mangrove forest and for what purpose. Is it for aquaculture development? Whatever the purpose, we at SAM are disappointed
whenever mangroves are destroyed as everyone knows about the importance and benefits of mangrove forests to the coastal area, more so since the tsunami in
December 2004.

In view of this we want to know the status of the mangrove forest here and the purpose of the destructive activity conducted here and whether it has been approved by the government. We also noticed that there were no signboards or notices about the nature of the project to be implemented in the area.

We hope the Penang State Government and the agencies involved will pay serious attention and take immediate action to stop the operations here if the activity does not comply with existing laws and adversely impacts the environment.

The findings of this investigation should be announced immediately so that the public is aware.

In the event that the operation is found to have been conducted illegally, stringent action must be taken on the offender and the area is rehabilitated with the costs incurred by the offender.


Media Statement, 11 October 2018