Thursday, January 24, 2013

Memories of the Establishment - The Beginning

Back in 1995, this is the view from TrEES very first office that inspired us to embark on a quest to protect this ridge and the forests that surrounded it. This is the view that sparked the Selangor State Park.

It began with a gotong royong in 1996 of the recreational site at the foot of the ridge, TrEES working with the residents in the area.  Shortly after, when the draft structure plans for Ampang Jaya were released, TrEES of course had a look at the plans.  We could see the forests behind the ridge, in Hulu Gombak, were linked to a larger body of forest to the north and south.  We then checked the extent of forest by reviewing the draft structure plans for Selayang, Hulu Langat and Hulu Selangor as well.  And we put forward, in our comments to the state government, our idea of gazetting the entire stretch of forest as a state park.

During the public hearing, YB Dato’ Fuad Hassan, the member of Selangor EXCO at that time, expressed interest in our idea.  TrEES was asked to submit a more detailed proposal for the Selangor State Park.  Our concept proposal for the establishment of the Selangor State Park was submitted to the Selangor State Government in 1998.  A big thank you to Dr Wong Khoon Meng for assisting TrEES in drafting the proposal.

The Town and Country Planning Department, Selangor (JPBD Selangor) consequently began investigating the feasibility of the idea.  TrEES did not stop its efforts but continued pushing for the establishment of the Park.  In 1999, TrEES launched a signature campaign to demonstrate to the state government the public’s support and interest in establishing the Park.  TrEES collected over 5,000 signatures (thank you to our volunteers who helped us achieve that!).  TrEES also networked with the local media to highlight the importance of the area.

In 2000, with a small grant from WWF Malaysia, TrEES, with the assistance ERE consultants, produced and submitted a detailed report to various members of the State Government on the critical importance of establishing the Park.  With this detailed report, TrEES met with various members of the state Executive Council to lobby for the establishment of the State Park.

In 2002, TrEES attended a meeting on the Selangor State Park chaired by Y. Bhg. Datin Paduka Dr. Halimaton Saadiah, Director of the Town and Country Planning Department, Selangor (JPBD Selangor) who was also interested in getting the Park established.  In the meeting, when none of the other government agencies or NGOs present took up her request to head a study to establish the Selangor State, TrEES volunteered to partner JPBD Selangor to undertake the study.  To show our commitment and seriousness, TrEES stated that we would also raise half the money required to do the study. Subsequently, TrEES submitted our proposal in writing to JPBD Selangor for consideration by the Selangor State Government.   

To our great delight, a few weeks later, TrEES was informed by Y Bhg Datin Paduka Dr Halimaton that the state had appointed JPBD Selangor and TrEES to facilitate the ‘Project Towards the Establishment of the Selangor State Park.’ With that, TrEES focused on raising our half of the funds needed for the project.  A big thank you to the British High Commission for providing TrEES most of the funding, enabling us to start the project.

From 2003 to 2005, TrEES and JPBD Selangor worked with government departments and other NGOs.  The support and assistance from the government agencies were instrumental in ensuring that the project achieved its objectives.  With their support and assistance, TrEES team, that included technical advisors Dr Rajen, Dr Wong, Dr Yong, Professor Shahwahid, Dr Lee Jin, Dr Siva and Prof Zubaid, produced the report to support the proposal for the 107,000 ha Selangor State Park.    The findings were presented to The Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Selangor, chaired by the Menteri Besar YAB Dato Sri Dr Mohamad Khir bin Toyo.

In 27 August 2005, the then Deputy Prime Minister, Dato' Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak together with the Menteri Besar declared the establishment of the 107,000 ha Selangor State Park.

TrEES is very grateful to everyone who participated in the project.  The park would not be a reality without you all!

No comments:

Post a Comment