The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, said today development is not a licence legalising the destruction of the environment.
Development without balanced planning and without the approved Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, especially on hillslopes, will destroy the environment, he said.
"Uncontrolled and unapproved development in the Kinta Highlands (of Perak) bordering Cameron Highlands (Pahang) and Lojing (Kelantan) has reportedly resulted in serious erosion and silting. The Perak Government will not compromise with illegal land settlers. Being soft and accommodating will give the wrong message and will only encourage more land encroachment," he said.
The Sultan was delivering the royal address when opening the first meeting of the second session of the 14th Perak Legislative Assembly at Bangunan Perak Darul Ridzuan. Also present was the Raja Permaisuri Perak, Tuanku Zara Salim.
Earlier, outside the assembly, Sultan Nazrin inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by three officers and 102 men of the First Battalion General Operations Force in Ulu Kinta, led by DSP Muhammad Ulul Azmi Muhamed.
Sultan Nazrin said environmental pollution should be taken seriously and the Department of Environment together with the local authorities should be firm during their periodic checks to ensure regulatory compliance.
"All plastic recycling plants have been instructed to conduct EIA studies, illegal factories must be closed without delay. The people should be given awareness on reducing the use of plastic," he said.
On the duty-free status of Pulau Pangkor, Sultan Nazrin said the State Government had submitted an application to set the gazette date on Jan 1, 2020, and various initiatives to realise the status were being studied.
The Sultan reminded that efforts to help the locals benefit from the duty-free status should be one of the development agendas of Pulau Pangkor.
"This is to ensure that the residents on the island will not suffer the same fate as Lebai Malang who suffered disappointment while others reaped the benefits," he said.
In addition, Sultan Nazrin said the State Government would continue to intensify efforts to attract high-technology and high-quality investments which do not pollute the environment and do not rely on low-wage foreign workers.
He said wrong decisions of investing in less viable transactions before this had proven to be costly and had resulted in the State Government being saddled with financial burden and this should be a lesson.
"The State Government also emphasises the importance of corporations and companies created under various state agencies to conduct careful risk assessments before engaging in new projects," said Sultan Nazrin.
At the end of his speech, the sultan reminded all State Assemblymen from both the ruling and Opposition parties to play a constructive role in complementing one another to enable the people to enjoy the best services.