KUALA NERANG: None of the eight previous mentris besar in Kedah allowed full-scale logging near Pedu Lake, said Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.
The former mentri besar, who served until the Barisan Nasional state government fell to PAS in 2008, said the area is considered an ecologically sensitive area with one of the world's oldest tropical rainforests.
“None of the eight previous mentris besar, including me, allowed (full-scale) logging there,” Mahdzir, who is Pedu assemblyman, said when met at the Save Kedah rally here yesterday.
The gathering was organised by the Jalinan Gelombang Merah movement, led by state Umno deputy liaison chief Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who is also Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister.
Mahdzir said the previous state government had permitted “a small degree” of logging, which was done on a tagging concept.
“Only tagged trees were chopped down in areas that were permissible for logging, not like now when full-scale clearing of trees is being condoned by the PAS-led government,” he said.
Mukhriz, commenting on the issue, claimed the current state government was using its Ladang Rakyat (People's Plantations) programme to cut down more trees in the state.
He added that the same thing was happening in Kelantan, the other PAS-led state where the Ladang Rakyat programme was started for re-planting purposes but did not materialise despite the land being cleared earlier.
Mukhriz also took to task the Kedah Government's purpose of starting a vineyard on a 358ha plot in Charok Batang Padi, in Pedu, as part of turning the area into an agro-tourism site.
“Tourists come to this country because they want to see and experience nature. If they want to see grapes, they can do that in their own country ,” he said.
He said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak had said the project would be carried out by the state and the people would enjoy the benefits from it.
However, added Mukhriz, he was not confident the project would record profits.
“Many state government-linked companies had to be bailed out by the state, including a venture into a logging scheme in Papua New Guinea,” he said.
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