The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) calls on the Kedah State Government not to renew timber concessions that have been cancelled or grant new concessions. Deforestation is one of the major causes of climate change which is adversely affecting the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, including Malaysia. The State Government should put the interests of our rakyat before the profits of the concession holders.
The Menteri Besar of Kedah Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has stated that his government is facing a claim of RM 1.5 billion by the concession holders but his predecessor Mukhriz Mahathir disputes it. Mukhriz stated that after several meetings between the State Government and the concession holders the issue of compensation has been agreed upon and what is needed is only its implementation.
We call on Muhammad Sanusi to disclose the names of the concession holders and the amounts they are claiming so that the public can form an informed opinion on the conflicting claims and act upon it.
The Ulu Muda forest reserve with an area of about 100,000 hectares is an important source of water for the people of Kedah, Perlis and Penang. It is also an important carbon sink contributing to ameliorating the adverse impacts of climate change. Malaysia, under various international treaties, is committed to reducing our carbon foot print. The Kedah Government should be rehabilitating the deforested areas instead of granting logging concessions.
What is shocking is that the Kedah State Governments, over the years, have approved timber logging concessions exceeding the quota set by the Akta Perhutanan 1984. This is a serious violation of the law and those responsible must be made accountable.
We call for a Royal Commission of Enquiry to be set up to investigate the propriety and legality of the approval of timber logging concessions and to submit a report with recommendations to improve the law and procedures for approving concessions, and to take action against those responsible for abuse of power and corruption.
Press Statement, 28 May 2020