Around the time Penang Forum 7; #SaveJerejak was taking place in early April, someone decided to move in and clear some of the forest in Pulau Jerejak.
Few would have known about this if not for a concerned Penangite who stumbled onto the clearing – a strip 500 feet long by several feet wide near the northeast coast of Pulau Jerejak. It appears to be some kind of fairly wide passageway through the forest.
Notice in the video the short thin stick stuck to the ground which appears to be some sort of (boundary?) marker for the work being done.
Below is a map showing within the red outline the general area where the forest was cleared.
A group of workers was even spotted nearby.
When asked, the workers said they were doing work for a company. Nearby them were a couple of tools: a chainsaw and a machete.
Some questions: What sort of work were they doing? Is any approval of plan required for this sort of work? If so, when was it approved? If no approval has been given, who is responsible for protecting the island? Did someone decide to quickly move in before more publicity and pressure for the island to be protected could be generated?
When a group of us visited the island a couple of months earlier, we noticed that some stretches along the east-west trail across the centre of the island appeared to have been recently similarly cleared and widened.
One of the things that emerged at Penang Forum 7 is that many people are under the impression that a “forest reserve” offers plenty of protection. But that is often an illusion: a forest reserve may sometimes end up being cleared or even logged.
That is why participants at Penang Forum 7 called for Pulau Jerejak to be gazetted as a state park, which would offer stronger protection.