thestar online, Malaysia
Thursday June 19, 2008 MYT 5:50:27 PM
Green groups oppose Kedah logging plan
By EMBUN MAJID
ALOR STAR: Environmental groups are against the Kedah government’s plan to allow logging at the Pedu, Muda and Ahning dam catchment areas, claiming it will be detrimental to the environment.
Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Kedah branch chairman Phang Fatt Khow urged the Pakatan Rakyat state government to reconsider the move to protect water catchment areas as well the surrounding bio-diversity.
“We are against the state’s plan to allow logging because in the long run, it may jeopardise water supply for padi cultivation,” Phang said Thursday.
He however agreed that the state should receive compensation from the Federal Government if it had to sacrifice the logging contracts to protect the environment.
Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris also cautioned against allowing logging at catchment areas as it would cause problems such as water pollution, flooding or droughts.
Mentri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak said that the state government would scrap its logging plan if the Federal Government paid the state RM100mil annually as promised.
“We have to carry out logging because we need the money to run the state and conduct development for the people. But if we can have other revenue, then we won’t need to do it,” he told newsmen after visiting SK Suka Menanti here.
Azizan had on Wednesday, announced that the state government had approved logging activities at the dam catchment areas which would contribute about RM16bil in revenue for the state.
He had said the move was necessary to cover the high expenditure incurred by the state following the petrol price increase.
“We have been providing water to Penang and Perlis and we also produce rice for the whole nation and we protect the forest. Thus the Federal Government should compensate us,” he said.
When asked on protests from environmentalists, Azizan reiterated that the government was exercising its right to log to cover increased operating costs.