Shafie urges Sabah to drop controversial carbon credit deal

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah must scrap its carbon credit deal under the controversial Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA) as it was akin to giving up the state's rights over its forest, says Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

The Opposition Parti Warisan Sabah president said the deal signed by the state lacked transparency and had raised many concerns, including the question of whether it was true that a private company would take control of the management of Sabah's forests.

"It is worrying. It must be cancelled," Shafie said in his speech on Monday (Dec 6) at the state assembly to debate the RM4.59bil Sabah Budget 2022.

Raising his concerns, Shafie, the Senallang assemblyman, said that if the deal materialised, it would place Sabah's totally protected forest reserves under the control of a private company for a period of 100 or more years.

However, state Rural Development Minister Datuk Jahid Jahim interjected to ask where he (Shafie) was getting his facts about the deal.

Shafie responded that a letter from the state Attorney General to the company had been widely circulated on social media and indicated that Sabah had already signed the NCA deal.

Furthermore, he said the Sabah Attorney General reportedly confirmed the letter was from her office.

Shafie said carbon credit trading was a positive step but it could be done in many ways without compromising the state's interests.

He said Sabah had also experienced poor benefits from some of its previous contracts under Forest Management Units.

The NCA reportedly involves placing some 600,000ha of Sabah's totally protected areas under the carbon deal with a private company and environmental groups have been critical of the arrangement, calling on the state government to scrap it.

Another Opposition member, Datuk Ewon Benedick (Upko-Kadamaian), also asked the state government to reconsider the deal as it only benefited outsiders and would infringe upon the traditional rights of indigenous peoples in such areas.

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