What’s the status of carbon credit deal, Warisan rep asks Sabah govt

Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.-filepic

KOTA KINABALU: A Parti Warisan assemblyman has urged the Sabah government to clarify the status of the controversial Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA) for carbon credit sales.

Sri Tanjong representative Justin Wong said the mixed messages from state leaders over the NCA were confusing the people.

He urged Sabah Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan to explain the status of the NCA, saying that the latter had been issuing statements that contradicted those from Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

ALSO READ: Technical issues main hurdle to get NCA’s carbon credit sales start, says Sabah Chief Minister

Wong said in recent news reports, Kitingan was reported to have said that Sabah was going ahead with the NCA.

This, he said, contradicted Hajiji’s statement in December, when he said the state had yet to start the NCA deal due to many technical issues that needed to be resolved.

“Hajiji and Kitingan are saying different things on the NCA ... they have been inconsistent and incoherent about this deal,” he said in a statement on Friday (Feb 23).

ALSO READ: Sabah to proceed with carbon credit deal with S'pore company, says Jeffrey Kitingan

“Kitingan (as the chairman of the steering and management committee for the implementation of the NCA) has the responsibility to explain if the deal has indeed started or not.

“It seems that they have different views internally in the Sabah Cabinet. Any statement that comes out from any Cabinet member must be consistent, but what we can see now is discrepancies between Sabah’s number one and number two,” Wong added.

He also urged Kitingan to explain why the latter insisted on proceeding with the deal with controversial Singapore-based company Hoch Standard, especially when the latter had admitted in a previous Sabah State Legislative Assembly sitting that he was wrong about the company’s US$10mil paid-up capital.

ALSO READ: Kitingan: Some unseen hands trying to derail Sabah's carbon credit deal

“Hoch Standard’s paid-up capital was US$1,000. How can we not question this company when it is so young and has (so little) capital?

“Kitingan has to at least make us confident about this company since it is going to handle a pilot project involving 600,000ha of Sabah’s land.

“You are essentially giving the wrong signal to the public that even a company with a mere US$1,000 capital could undertake such a huge project,” Wong said.

He also questioned why would Kitingan still proceed with implementing the NCA deal after Sabah Attorney General Datuk Nor Asiah Mohd Yusof had said that the NCA was “legally impotent” in February 2022.

ALSO READ: Carbon sales deal headed to court

The NCA deal involves management of carbon credit sales of two million hectares of forest reserves for a period of 100 years.

Kitingan had on Aug 23 last year said the NCA was proceeding, confirming that a pilot project would be implemented at the Nuluhon Trusmadi Forest Reserve in Sabah's interior.

But before that, the Keningau MP had claimed there were “some unseen hands” trying to derail the deal after a move by civil society groups to take the NCA to court.

He said he believed that the action to seek a judicial review by certain groups was to serve certain people with a vested interest in taking over the project.

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