SAVE OUR TRAIL, SAVE BUKIT KEMBARA
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Bukit Kembara is a popular hiking trail in Ampang used by residents, students from schools in the area, as well as avid hikers (young and old) for over 35 years. The entrance to the trail starts in Taman TAR and leads up to a dis-used reservoir which is surrounded by the Ampang Forest Reserve.
It is a relatively easy trail suitable for the casual hiker and senior citizens. The route is a scenic one with streams and waterfalls along the way which makes it a haven from the hustle and bustle of the city. The cleanliness and upkeep of the trail is also maintained on a voluntary basis by a group of senior hikers, who are also residents of Taman TAR.
In August 2017, a steel fence with barbed wire was erected by a small group of residents, represented by Persatuan Penduduk Taman TAR (PPTTAR) at the entrance of the trail, citing security issues.
It is important to note that PPTAR only represents a small group of residents within Taman TAR. This small group of people act independently and do not obtain approval from the majority of residents for most decisions and actions that are taken by the organisation.
The above mentioned fence was removed by MPAJ, after numerous complaints from the public, as it was erected without obtaining the relevant approvals, and therefore deemed illegal.
Residents and hikers alike were very happy with the swift action by MPAJ. However, our joy was short lived, as a second fence with barbed wire was erected in October 2017 by the same group of people, i.e. PPTAR. This time the fence was placed further along the trail, and across the stream which obstructed the flow of water and posed as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
A meeting was held between MPAJ, the Forestry Department, representatives from the residents' association as well as the hikers group. MPAJ concluded that the fence should be taken down as the land was state land. This was contended by a few representatives of the residents' association PPTAR, as they claimed that the land in question (subsequently known as the Buffer Zone) was privately owned by the Berjaya Group of Companies. The Buffer Zone is the access route Bukit Kembara. The fence was taken down a few days later, but we do not know who was responsible for the removal of the fence.
In January 2018, we were informed that the Hakmilik for LOT 11640 (owned by BERJAYA) verified that the Buffer Zone was indeed part of LOT 11640. Therefore, the buffer zone belongs to BERJAYA and that the plan for Berjaya to transfer ownership of the Buffer Zone to MPAJ was not implemented.
There is also a letter signed by CEO of Berjaya Land Berhad (Datuk Pee Kang Seng) and its General Manager (Fong Cia Loon) which grants consent to PPTTAR’s request to erect a new security fence in the Buffer Zone.
On March 1 2018, yet another fence was erected, this time purportedly a collaboration between PPTAR and the Berjaya Group with approval from MPAJ. This third fence is once again erected across the stream, and is already causing issues to the water flow. Additionally, the parties responsible for erecting the fence has this time caused a lot of damage to the trees along the trail by indiscriminately chopping down a number of trees to block the trail up to the reservoir. These actions are despicable and should not be condoned.
The residents and hikers have long looked after and maintained the trails and the forest area, and it breaks our hearts to see our beloved trail treated with such contempt and disrespect.
As such, we are now seeking to obtain official access, from the BERJAYA group, to the trail for all the residents and students in the area, as well as hikers from near and far. We hope that you will support our cause to save our beloved trail and to maintain access to Bukit Kembara for the general public.
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