GEORGE TOWN: It will be up to the Federal Government to decide if Penang should compensate Kedah for lost revenue if it stops logging activities in Ulu Muda, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
He said he had read comments on social media, asking why the Penang government did not pay Kedah for compensation.
“We can discuss it but Penang did not cause the problem.
“We have been extracting water supply from Ulu Muda within our own state borders.
“We did say it would be right for the Federal Government to compensate them for loss of revenue but if the issue is raised, we can discuss it,” he said during a press conference after the signing of memorandum of understanding between Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) and Wawasan Open University at PSDC in Bayan Lepas yesterday.
It was reported on Sunday that the Kedah government was ready to discuss with the Penang and Perlis governments on logging issues in Ulu Muda, Sik, in an effort to protect the area and retain it as a water catchment area for common interests.
Its Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said the discussion would also include compensation request from the Federal Government in lieu of forest premiums following Kedah’s lack of sustainable income sources such as oil and gas, compared to other states.
Chow said he welcomed Mukhriz’s statement that they were ready to discuss the water issue with its neighbours.
“It is not an issue concerning just Penang, but involving two other states (Kedah and Perlis).
“I am pleased with his response and now we can start the process of working with the Federal Government to find a solution to the logging activities in Ulu Muda,” he said.
Chow said Penang Water Supply Corporation, who has been championing the cause, would likely spearhead the meeting between the parties.
“We will discuss and put an end to the logging issue in Ulu Muda, as if it does not stop in 20 or 30 years from now, people across these three states will be badly affected.
“It is a life or death issue, for the three states.
“We will also discuss how to replace the revenue loss from logging in Kedah,” he said.