Gelang Patah forest fire involves privately owned agricultural land

JOHOR BAHRU, The 16-hectare forest fire in Kampung Pekajang, Gelang Patah, near here, reported to have been burning since Wednesday, involved privately owned agricultural land.

Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal said a survey found the fire, 60 per cent of which has been contained, did not involve forest reserves or state government land.

Right now, various agencies are working to put out the remaining fire, he said when met by reporters after a ground-breaking ceremony for the Kempas Interchange at Taman Setia Tropika, here today.

Dr Sahruddin said the state government, at the same time, took note and appreciated the advice of the Regent of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim who ordered for schools in the area to be temporarily closed for the safety of the students.

He said the Johor government’s administrative centre in Kota Iskandar, Iskandar Puteri would continue to operate as usual despite the surrounding haze.

Meanwhile, commenting on the Kempas Interchange involving the upgrading of the interchange along the North-South Expressway (E2) and Jalan Kempas Lama (J105), Dr Sahruddin said it would cost RM39.7 million and was expected to be fully completed by December 2020.

The project is part of IRDA’s plan to launch traffic flow from and to the city centre of Johor Bahru-Kuala Lumpur-Kempas-Seelong and the surrounding area.

Meanwhile, Johor Housing, Communications and Multimedia Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad who is also Kota Iskandar assemblyman, accompanied Tunku Ismail to inspect the scene of the fire this morning.

Dzulkefly said the various parties and rescue agencies still struggling to put out the fire, comprised 70 officers and firefighters including personnel from the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), Iskandar Princess Municipal Council and various other agencies.

We have just received two additional water pump from Batu Pahat DID last night to help put out the peat fires on top and underneath the ground in view of the limited water supply for this operation, he said in a statement here today.

Works to dig out a trench was also ongoing to prevent the fire from spreading.

According to him, Kampung Pekajang and Kampung Tanjung Adang located near the fire area, have 517 and 447 residents respectively.

Two nearby schools, namely Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Tanjung Adang has 245 students while Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanjung Adang has 148 students.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)