Perak MB: No open tender for forest project, company got it through directors’ ‘vast experience’

IPOH: The 400ha of forest land for development awarded to a company with a paid-up capital of only RM2 was not done through an open tender, says Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu (pic).

He said the company was given the approval to go ahead with the project through the Perak Forestry Committee taskforce, of which he, as the Mentri Besar, was chairman.

The members of the taskforce, he said, include the director and deputy director of the state Forestry Department, as well as state executive councillors Paul Yong Choo Kiong and Asmuni Awi.

“The directors of the company have vast experience in forest plantation, and the company is working closely with the Malaysian Timber Industry Board for forest land development, and thus the project was awarded to them.

“As for the development project, it does not involve the cutting of a single tree, but instead it is to replant trees,” he told a press conference at the state secretariat building here Wednesday (Feb 13).

On Tuesday (Feb 12), Perak Umno asked the state government how a company with a paid-up capital of only RM2 could be awarded the project, and if an open tender was called.

A letter purportedly stating that the state government had approved the permit for a forest plantation development project during the committee meeting held in November had gone viral.

The development project involves areas in Kledang Saiong and Bukit Kinta Forest.

Ahmad Faizal had also clarified that the 400ha was not part of a forest reserve, but instead the areas were situated in a secondary jungle.

On why the business address of the company listed on the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) belongs to a law firm in Taiping, Ahmad Faizal said the law firm was the company secretary for the company awarded the project.

“I don’t see any wrong if the company shares an office with several other offices, or a law firm is used as a company secretary. If that is an offence, then I am not aware of it,” he added.

On Kampar MP Thomas Su lodging a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on the alleged irregularities involving the project, Ahmad Faizal said it was a “fantastic move” on the part of Su.

“I leave it to MACC to carry out their investigations, and I urge them to do so thoroughly to ensure no wrongdoing by Pakatan Harapan.

“Su did come to see me over the matter, and I told him if he feels there is a need to investigate then he should do so,” he added.