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Monday, March 12, 2012

We have funds to develop the park in Shah Alam, Federal Govt tells Selangor

SHAH ALAM: Putrajaya does not agree with the intention of the Selangor Government to sell off part of the Shah Alam National Botanical Garden.

Instead, the Federal Government wants to lease the entire park from the state government.

Agriculture and Agro-based Indus­tries Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar said the state government had proposed to take over the management of the park, which had been handled by the ministry since it was developed in 1986.

“The state has proposed to sell 100 acres (40.5ha) of the park to raise RM100mil which will be put into a trust fund to manage the park.

“The ministry does not agree with this proposal. If it leases the park to us, we have the funds to develop it without having to sell any land,” he said after visiting the botanical garden here.

He added that the 817ha park was a biodiversity reservoir with 422 plant species.

Noh said the ministry had allocated RM116mil to develop the park over five years from 2010 to 2014.

He also pointed out that the state government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the ministry in 2006 to gazette the park as a forest reserve and to lease it to the Federal Government for 60 years.

“Unfortunately, what was planned did not materialise as the current state government has refused to sign the lease agreement.

“The state government should honour the understanding between state and federal governments,” he said.

He added that an official agreement needed to be signed as the MoU was not legally binding.

Since the park was commissioned 26 years ago, Noh said the Federal Government had spent RM236mil to develop it without signing any lease agreement.

“It was based on an understanding. It was easy in the past as both (state and federal) governments were Barisan Nasional,” he said.

By The Star

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