GEORGE TOWN: Two of Penang’s dams are almost full with the recent rains in the northern region, yet Kedah’s Muda Dam is still less than half full.
Seeing it as a possible sign that state-sanctioned logging is sapping the Greater Ulu Muda forest’s ability to bring water, Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa wants the Kedah government to clarify the truth about the state’s logging.
He said Air Itam and Teluk Bahang dams in Penang were 83.6% and 97.3% full respectively, but Muda Dam stood at only 48.1% as of Monday.
During last year’s El Nino drought in May, Muda Dam was about 30% full.
“We want Kedah to clarify the 15km logging trail near Muda Dam that appeared in The Star. The trail is almost parallel to the topography beside the dam within the catchment area,” he told reporters yesterday.
On April 13, The Star discovered the new trail, believed to have been used by licensed loggers for about a year.
Jaseni said the 2014 Auditor-General’s Report showed that Kedah approved 46,264ha of forests for logging between 2009 and 2014.
He urged the state government to reveal how much of that was in Ulu Muda.
The Kedah Forestry Depart-ment Annual Report 2003 states that Greater Ulu Muda comprises eight forest reserves, totalling 162,931ha. The largest is Ulu Muda Forest Reserve at 105,060ha.
“Greater Ulu Muda provides 80% of the water for Penang, 96% for Kedah and 50% for Perlis.
“About 40% of our country’s rice production relies on water from here too.”
Responding to a scathing comment from Kedah exco member Datuk Badrol Hisham Hashim to “mind his own business” on Monday, Jaseni said Greater Ulu Muda was the business of the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER).
“The NCER is only 7% of our country’s land area but we create 20% of our national GDP and 60% of padi land,” he added.