On a recent Sunday, 23 individuals found themselves in hot water after venturing into the pristine Hutan Simpan Kekal Bukit Tinggi, a forest reserve in Bentong, Pahang, without the necessary permit.
The forest reserve is a protected area, and entry without proper authorization is strictly prohibited!
Bentong district forest officer, Muhamat Azman Yahya, recounted how his team stumbled upon the group engaged in climbing activities within the forest. Upon inspection, it was evident that none of the 23 climbers, comprising both men and women, possessed the required permit issued by the Pahang Forestry Department (JPNP) to access the forest reserve.
Photo via SelangorKini
Taking swift action, Muhamat Azman and his team apprehended the group for trespassing and promptly handed them over to the Bentong district police station to report the offense.
Although all suspects were released on bail the same day, the JPNP investigating officer will carry out further scrutiny under the National Forestry Act (APN) 1984. The consequences for such offenses can be severe, with potential fines of up to RM10,000 or imprisonment for up to three years, or both.
The incident serves as a stark reminder to the public that entering state forest reserves without the required permits is strictly prohibited and subject to legal consequences. The Pahang Forestry Department earnestly advises anyone planning to explore these pristine areas to first apply for a valid permanent forest reserve entry permit from JPNP.
Muhamat Azman expressed concern over the recurring nature of such illegal entries for climbing activities. Similar incidents have happened in the past, necessitating legal action to deter future encroachments into the forest reserve.
In an effort to facilitate public access to recreational activities within the permanent forest reserves while adhering to regulations, the department introduced the e-ecopark system in June. This system provides a convenient platform for climbers to apply for the necessary permit online through a designated link.
As authorities work to safeguard these precious forest reserves, they also hope to raise awareness among the public about the importance of preserving these natural treasures. Respecting the rules and obtaining the required permits not only safeguards these protected areas but also allows visitors to experience the wonders of nature responsibly and sustainably.
To access the e-ecopark link, simply click here!