An overview of the land clearing in Bukit Sekilau. Pix by Muhammad Asyraf Sawal

The luscious green hills at Bukit Sekilau here are now littered with bald patches, raising questions if these might adversely affect the environment and surrounding population. 

The land clearing, which have increased over the past few months, have turned into an eyesore clearly visible from  a distance from most parts of Kuantan town.

Despite the movement of lorries and heavy machinery, one is left wondering what the 2.7ha-land is destined for as there are no notice boards providing information on the type of project, duration or the parties involved. 

Located along the alternative road connecting Indera Mahkota and Kuantan town, the land clearing is carried out right in the backyard of the district Forestry office and staff quarters.

Residents living at the foot of the hill near the project site have raised concerns about the possibility of earth movements or mud floods during the monsoon season.  

Housewife Khamsiah Othman, 53, who accompanied the New Straits Times and Harian Metro during a visit near the site, said previously rock blasting took place and people were worried about the safety of their homes. 

The mother-of-six said the quarry works had stopped and now lorries laden with rocks transported out from the site were using residential roads, damaging the stretch. 

“We are worried if it rains heavily, there are housing settlements at the foot of the hill and there has been a mud flood at Perkampungan Bukit Sekilau once. The project is moving full swing now and no one knows what will happen. 

“The alternative road was repaired several years ago to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles.

“But sadly, the road is in bad condition, which puts the lives of motorists at risk, especially at night,” she said. 

Khamsiah said the residents from Perkampungan Bukit Sekilau had previously signed a petition, asking the state government and District and Land Office to look into the matter. But to date, nothing has been done. 

A resident from Taman Bukit Sekilau, who only wanted to be identified as Lee, said their housing area was located less than 500m from the entrance to the site. Some houses were previously damaged by the rock blasting. 

“The activities have been going on for two years and some residents lodged a police report in July. Since then, it has stopped. We are not against development, but it should be done in accordance with the law.”

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