Pa­hang dept didn’t know about sur­vival pro­gramme that killed 2

New Straits Times - - News -

KUAN­TAN: Those re­spon­si­ble for or­gan­is­ing the sur­vival pro­gramme in Janda Baik, Ben­tong, where two stu­dents were killed when a tree landed on them on Satur­day, should have sought per­mis­sion from the Pa­hang Forestry Depart­ment.

The site of the in­ci­dent, 200m from the Lata Charok wa­ter­fall, is in the Len­tang For­est Re­serve and the area is not gazetted as a recre­ational for­est.

A Forestry Depart­ment of­fi­cer, who de­clined to be named, said the district Forestry Depart­ment did not re­ceive any per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion and was in the dark when news broke out about the in­ci­dent.

“We are un­cer­tain if the par­tic­i­pants had set up tents in the for­est or they were rest­ing un­der the canopy huts, which were built in the area.

“It is an of­fence to en­croach on the for­est re­serve area with­out get­ting an ap­proval as it could lead to prob­lems, in­clud­ing smug­gling for­est prod­ucts or poach­ing.”

He said the depart­ment knew that some peo­ple, in­clud­ing hik­ers, usu­ally felt it was a has­sle to in­form the author­i­ties fear­ing they might by pre­vented from or­gan­is­ing their activities.

“In fact, no­ti­fy­ing the author­i­ties will al­low us to move swiftly to the ex­act lo­ca­tion in case of an emer­gency or de­ter­mine if there is need to mo­bilise peo­ple on land or a heli­copter for search-and-rescue ef­forts,” he said.

The 4am in­ci­dent, which oc­curred near the Lata Charok wa­ter­fall, claimed the lives of Noorain Mohtar, 23, and Muham­mad Kamil Md Sukri, 22, when a tree fell on them while Muham­mad Haziq Radzuan, 21, suf­fered head in­juries.

The vic­tims, along with 137 stu­dents and four lec­tur­ers from Univer­siti Te­knologi Mara Pun­cak Alam cam­pus in Se­lan­gor, were tak­ing part in the sur­vival pro­gramme at the site when the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

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