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