LAND belonging to those caught committing open burning and left idle at Kampung Johan Setia in Klang will be confiscated.
The Selangor State Executive Council made this decision during its weekly meeting yesterday, in a drastic move to put an end to peat fires in the area.
State Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong said the state was left with not much option but to act tough against the errant land owners.
Danger to villagers: Peat fires are still smouldering at Kampung Johan Setia in Klang.
Wong said the state had been empowered to do so under the National Land Code which provided it with the clout to confiscate land allocated to individuals but left idle.
She said they had also ordered the Klang District Land Office to take action with immediate effect.
“It is state land and was awarded to the individuals about 10 years ago for cultivation.
“There are 500 landowners with a total of 600ha in Johan Setia,’’ she said.
Wong said a state-level task force had been formed to identify idle land and speed up the confiscation process.
What a mess: The Fire and Rescu e Services Department is called in to control fires.
Wong said this was because the land owners had also indirectly contributed to the rampant peat fires in the area and the worsening air pollution.
She added that observations revealed that uncultivated and idle land were prone to peat fires.
“Sometimes, the fire also spreads to other areas, including those with crops.
“This is not fair to the landowners who are occupying or cultivating their plots,’’ she said.
Wong said some of the landowners were not even aware of the fire on their land until they faced legal action.
“Under the circumstances, it is important that the state takes drastic measures to resolve the peat fire problem,’’ she said.
Wong added that the irresponsible action of the landowners had also caused the state losses amounting to millions of ringgit in putting out the fires and conducting prevention programmes.