THE Penang government has made it clear that it gazetted over 6,000 hectares of land as water catchment areas in 2004, opposing claims made by the Federal Government.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said Penang was one of the earliest to gazette all its water catchment areas compared to other states.
“As of Dec 2,2004,6, 288 hectares of forests were gazetted, of which, 70% were permanent forest reserves.
“The claim that we have yet to gazette any of our land could be due to a new requirement where water catchment areas must now be gazetted under the National Forestry Act 1984 upon instruction by the National Land Council in August 2019.
“We started working on it last year but it was delayed due to the pandemic.
“The Penang Forestry Department expects to do the necessary by June 2021, ” he said at a press conference held in Komtar on Thursday.
Chow said on Dec 2 this year, the state executive council approved 3,790 hectares of permanent forest reserves to be placed under the Act, which was 5% more than what the state had earlier gazetted.
“This is a newly approved gazetted area which was not under the state law in 2004.
“We are proud to say that we have stopped logging our forests since 1972, ” he said.
The issue was raised after Chow, who is also Tanjong MP, asked Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man on the status of 25,000 hectares
of “replacement water catchment forests” promised by Kedah to balance out forests given out for logging.
Tuan Ibrahim in response told the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday that the Penang government had yet to gazette any of the 3,398.94
hectares of land that is supposed to be turned into water catchment areas to better manage the water supply sources in the northern region.
He said other state governments had already done their part, except for the Penang government.
Earlier Chow received laptops for the state-level ‘E-Learning Computer Programme’ from the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang, OCBC Bank and Prominent Sound Sdn Bhd.
Chow thanked both parties for taking part in the programme which is aimed at providing needy students with electronic devices so that they can access online studies during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“This initiative is one of the efforts to support and address the challenges of online teaching and learning faced by teachers, students and parents during the pandemic, ” he said.
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