Court defers NGOs’ appeal on Bukit Cherakah degazettement – FMT, Sep 2023

Court defers NGOs’ appeal on Bukit Cherakah degazettement – FMT, Sep 2023

Our much loved Shah Alam Community Forest was highlighted by Malaysia’s English daily, Free Malaysia Today on 14th Sept 2023.

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has reserved its ruling over two NGOs’ appeal against a lower court decision that denied their bids to commence a judicial review against the degazettement of Bukit Cherakah as a forest reserve.

Justice Azizah Nawawi said the court needed more time to deliberate the matter as it is a public interest case.

She said the court will inform the legal team representing the NGOs, Shah Alam Community Forest Society and Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka), once they have a date to deliver their decision.

Other judges who sat with her were Azimah Omar and Wong Kian Kheong.

Last year, the Shah Alam High Court denied their leave application to initiate a judicial review over the state government’s decision to degazette Bukit Cherakah, covering 406.22ha

“The court allowed their applications to extend the interim stay order pending hearing of the leave application for judicial review on Oct 19,”– Lawyer Rajesh Nagarajan representing Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (PEKA) and Shah Alam Community Forest Association (SACF)

The two NGOs claimed that it was illegal for the Selangor government to “backdate” the impugned gazette. The gazette was published on May 5, 2022, 22 years after the decision made in 2000.

Earlier, the NGOs’ lawyer Rajesh Nagarajan urged the appeals court to grant them leave to commence a legal challenge as there were serious issues to be tried.

He added that the National Forestry Act does not provide powers to the authorities to degazette retrospectively.

Meanwhile, assistant state legal adviser Khairul Nizam Abu Bakar objected to the NGOs’ bid to commence the judicial review, saying that they should have filed it 22 years ago.

Read more on Free Malaysia Today here.

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