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Project January 12, 2023

Forest Clearing and Floods at Baling, Kedah Malaysia



On July 4, 2022, three people died and more than 3,000 people were displaced when sludge, debris and flood waters buried several villages near Baling, Kedah, in the north of Peninsular Malaysia. On September 6, 2022, water came gushing down Gunung Inas to flood the village again after a 30-minute heavy downpour, forcing more than 100 residents to evacuate. Faced with a third round of flooding in two months, residents of Kampung Iboi near Baling are now asking how much longer they need to live in fear each time it rains.

Crucially, they said the series of flooding started when works started on a mega durian plantation in a water catchment area in the mountainous Gunung Inas Forest Reserve.

A government investigation into the disaster found forest clearing for the plantation had among others led to the disaster, and recommended evacuation in anticipation of further flooding. In fact, this catastrophic flood can be avoided, as in the environmental assessment report released in 2013, there were solutions to avoid disasters.

In this project, Malaysiakini and KiniTV explore the following questions: Why are these warnings not heeded? Why do the villagers suffer?