IPOH: Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu has taken a swipe at so-called non-governmental organisations "championing" the rights of orang asli in Perak.
He said these NGOs were merely interested in disrupting the state administration's effort in developing the state.
Without naming any of the NGOs, Ahmad Faizal said the representatives would visit the state once in a while, especially during holidays, on the pretext of safeguarding the forest and orang asli community.
"The state has a responsibility, and logging is not a crime, but it must be done in a sustainable manner.
"Over 48% of the land in Perak are still forest reserves, but the NGOs are not telling the orang asli that.
"These people stay in houses in Kuala Lumpur as big as a palace, once in a while entering the forest, influencing the orang asli to protest against logging and then leaving," he told reporters during Pakatan Harapan's first year anniversary interview at the Mentri Besar's former residence on Sunday (May 12) evening.
Ahmad Faizal said only trees that were tagged could be cut down for logging.
"So blockades will not help anyone, as timber that is not brought out of the forest it is left to rot, and this in the end will not benefit anyone," he added.
He said the NGOs should instead be helping the orang asli in a similar manner to what the state government had done by urging government-linked companies (GLCs) to adopt orang asli villages.
This he said was a more holistic move to help the community, and nine villages have already been adopted for a start.
"We have a total of 256 orang asli villages in the state, and we needstrong political will, and support from all parties including NGOs to increase the socio-economy, education and competitiveness of the community.
On another matter, Ahmad Faizal said since Pakatan took over the state, several dodgy agreements by some GLCs were terminated.
Citing examples, Ahmad Faizal said the Perak State Agricultural Development Corporation (SADC) had a company producing cosmetic products.
"Then we discovered a lopsided agreement between SADC and a third party, whereby the state government provided a piece of land to SADC which came up with all the capital but provided 50% share to the other party.
"Not only that, the other company did not invest a single sen but was also provided with an upfront profit.
"It is not easy to repair the 'damage' because there are agreements and all. But we need to do the right thing," he added.
On the update of the official residence, Ahmad Faizal said after explaining the situation over and over again there were still all sorts of rumours on the sale of the area.
Ahmad Faizal had last year announced that he would not live there after deeming the house unfit for occupation due to safety concerns.
He had moved into the state secretary's residence near the state Cultural and Arts Department on Jalan Raja DiHilir instead.
Ahmad Faizal added the state government was open to proposals to interested parties wanting to develop the place but on the condition that the 14 official state government houses and a hall be constructed first in the new site.
"The site has been allocated for the purpose for a very long time, but it is just that the plan never materialised.
"So as a land swap plan, the interested parties must construct the 14 houses, among others for the Mentri Besar, State Secretary, State Financial Officer, Legal Advisor as well as 10 state executive council members before work can begin at the old residence.
"The state government will also hold a certain percentage when a new development takes place at the former residence," he added.
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