KUANTAN: The Pahang government is willing to cancel logging and development projects in the Merapoh Forest near here after taking into account the significance of the area as a water catchment.
The a decision will be seen as a victory for local environmental groups who have been lobbying against the projects.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the project would have been cancelled had he been informed about it much earlier.
The logging project, he said, was under Yayasan Pahang while the development of the oil palm plantation was on land belonging to the Pahang Agricultural Development Board (LKPP).
“Proceeds from logging by Yayasan Pahang is used to provide scholarships (to Pahang students).
“The LKPP land was given in 1992. The problem now is that we were informed late.
“If it is critical as a water catchment, we can cancel it.
“Yayasan can look for another place to log, LKPP can find another area for its oil palm. It is not too difficult because the mentri besar is both chairman of the Yayasan and LKPP,” he said after opening the Conference on Sustainable and Responsible Mineral Resources Development in Malaysia here yesterday.
Also present was Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hamim Samuri.
Adnan said those who knew that the project could have an impact on the environment should have informed him immediately and not wait until the damage is done.
“Do not wait until the forest has been cut down to tell me.
“We must work together – do not just keep saying negative things about the mentri besar.
“Don’t expect the mentri besar to bring a measuring tape to measure everything,” he said.
Logging activities in Merapoh became a heated issue late October through the involvement of environmental groups that led to the solidarity of the international community on social media through #savemerapoh.
The logging, carried out to open up a road for the transportation of forest products before work on an oil palm estate begins, had also caught the attention of the Federal Government.
On Nov 30, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar was reported to have said he had instructed the director-general of the Department of Environment to issue a stop-work order for all activities in that forest. — Bernama
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