PUCHONG, 21 Mac - UPM Chancellor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah officiated the launching of the Sultan Idris Shah Forestry Education Centre (SISFEC) at the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve, Puchong.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, who is the Sultan of Selangor, toured all the facilities in SISFEC, which has been established as an educational reference centre. In addition, it is also a research and development centre for good practice in tropical forest management at national level and globally.
The Sultan expressed the hope that SISFEC’s scientific research would make discoveries in genetic resource and continue to document not only plant stocks but also wildlife.
In his speech, the Selangor Sultan wished for the state government to amend the present memorandum of understanding with UPM concerning the forest from 80 years to 999 years.
“To ensure the forest functions as a green zone, the genetic resource conservatory as well as a research and educational centre of UPM’s Faculty of Forestry should remain there permanently,” the Sultan added.
The UPM Chancellor also urged all parties including the local residents to play their part in conservation and to report any suspicious activities that might harm the forest reserve.
Accompanying the Sultan were Malaysia’s fifth Prime Minister cum Advisor to the Malaysian Landscape, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tun Jeanne Abdullah, Higher Education Minister, Dato’ Seri Mohamed KhaledNordin, UPM’s Pro Chancellors, Tan Sri Dato’ Setia Dr.Nayan Ariffin and Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Lim Ah Lek, and the Dean of the Faculty of Forestry, Prof.Datin Dr.Faridah Hanum Ibrahim.
To mark the occasion, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah planted a sapling of the Merawan Meranti species in the grounds of the SISFEC.
Meanwhile, UPM’s Vice Chancellor, Dato’ Ir. Dr. Radin Umar Radin Sohadi in his speech mentioned that the agreement between UPM and the Selangor state government signed in 1996 granted UPM permission to manage the 1,1761.1-hectare Ayer Hitam forest reserve as a forest for educational purposes, research and for forestry development until 2076.
“The facilities available at the forest reserve such as accommodation, internet coverage and laboratories have created opportunities for both local and foreign researchers to conduct their research there,” he added as he under the Ministry of Higher Education commented on SISFEC’s facilities that are estimated to have cost RM18mil, using the allocation from the 9th Malaysia Plan allocation.
Dato’ Ir. Dr. Radin Umar said in addition, 100 development programmes to create awareness of forestry information and activities have been carried out by various government agencies, communities and educational institution.
“SISFEC also doubles as a support centre to complement three programmes under the Faculty of Forestry, namely Bachelor of Science in Wood Technology, Bachelor of Science in Forestry as well as a new programme, Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation, commencing in the 2011-2012 session.
Chairman of the organising committee, Dr Paiman Bawon commented on the uniqueness of the forest, with its range of flora and fauna that are rarely found in Selangor but present in areas from the north down to the southern part of West Malaysia.
Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve has been established as an outdoor laboratory for students in efforts to develop skills in forest management.
“The development of outdoor laboratories has opened doors for the students to gain more knowledge and skills in classifying trees and plants, learning soil science, tree inventory, silviculture, ecology, wildlife, outdoor recreation and eco tourism,” said Dr Paiman Bawon.
News provided by Khairul Anuar Muhamad Noh 03-8946 7469, Office of Marketing and Communication (MarComm), Photo (Azreen Awang Noor 03-8946 6199 & Mohd Hasrul Hamdan 03-8946 6189).
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