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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, May 20: Comparing satellite images of the coastline of Rambungan between 2003 to 2020, Tanjong Datu assemblyman Azizul Annuar Adenan (GPS-PBB) says the erosion affecting the Rambungan coastline has been estimated to have progressed by as much as 110 meters.
He said this meant the coastline has moved 110 meters inland, at an erosion rate of about six meters per year.
“Houses, farms and structures along Rambungan and Sampadi coastlines have been damaged and swallowed by the sea. These can threaten the lives of local residents.
“As I am not privy to data on the rate of coastal erosion of other areas in Malaysia, I believe the rate of six meters per year is a cause for us to take precautionary measures without further undue delays. Therefore, I urge the government to take necessary action on this matter,” said Azizul while debating on the Governor’s speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.
He explained that coastal villages in Tanjong Datu constituency namely Kampung Sampadi, Kampung Rambungan, Kampung Stoh, Kampung Belungei and Kampung Telok Melano have been suffering from soil erosion.
Apart from the rising sea level, the first term assemblyman said unregulated and unapproved harvesting of mangrove trees has also contributed to riverbank erosion as there has been illegal logging activities and encroachment into the mangrove forests in his constituency.
Citing the Sarawak Forest Department, he said based on the satellite images in 2022, an area of 3,100 hectares along the coastline in Lundu District from Rambungan to Sematan is a mangrove covered forest area.
Of the total 3,100 hectares, only 307, or slightly less than 10 per cent of the total areas are under the category of Forest Reserves and Fully Protected Areas. The rest of the 2,013 hectares which is 65 per cent is on State Land or Private Title Land.
In addition, 780 hectares which is 25 per cent of the total mangrove forest in the area has been licensed for the production of logs.
Proposing the gazetted Mangrove Forest Conservation Area to be increased at least by 30 per cent of the Total Protected Area (TPA) which is over 930 hectares within the next two years, Azizul said the proposal was in line with the two latest Bills passed.
“It would be my vision that Mangrove Forest Conservation Areas in Tanjong Datu constituency can be designated as a Ramsar site in the near future. I will endeavour to offer my fullest cooperation in the pursuit,” said Azizul. — DayakDaily