KUCHING: The environmental "disaster" Pahang is facing with bauxite mining bears similarity to what Sarawak faces with illegal logging, says Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
The Chief Minister, addressing a gathering of federal and state environment ministers and exco members, described Pahang's bauxite and Cameron Highlands incidents as "disasters".
"People ought to have seen it coming. They only realised the damage after it had been done," he said on Wednesday, adding that greed, corruption, weak enforcement, and public apathy contributed to this.
Adenan was quick to point out that he believed Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob was "doing the best" he could, and used much of his speech to talk about Sarawak's on-going clamp down against illegal loggers.
He said environmental issues related to corruption were usually plain to see.
"Don't tell me they don't know. They just pretend not to know," said Adenan.
When forest enforcers pretended not to know, he said he "told them to their faces" some were corrupt.
"I think we have gotten rid of that disease. Before this, there were no raids on timber.
"People did anything they wanted. Now, no more - 36 sawmills have closed because they have no stolen raw material. I'm happy to see them go bankrupt. They deserve to be bankrupt," he said.
He said the only downside to the illegal logging clampdown had been a drop in timber taxes and royalties for Sarawak, which he said was for the greater good.
Adenan told ministers present to make "hard decisions" and enforce laws "to the letter".
Also present was Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
Junaidi said the Federal Government faced constraints as mining fell under state jurisdiction, and urged for closer cooperation.