Kedah seeks compensation after stopping logging activities in Ulu Muda forest reserve

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ALOR SETAR (June 20): Kedah is hoping that the Federal Government will compensate the losses that the State Government had to bear after stopping the logging activities in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve since last year.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir said the State Government had raised the compensation payment in the National Finance Council Meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Prior to this (before the meeting), we had written a letter to the Federal Government to seek clarification on the allocation provided through Budget 2019 pertaining to compensation to the State that made a decision to stop or to reduce logging activities to maintain water supply.

“Therefore, we hope the Federal Government will consider the Kedah Government’s request because there is an allocation (for that) and Kedah very much needs it,” he said when met at the Suka Menanti State Assembly Aidilfitri celebration here today.

Mukhriz, however, said the State Government did not fix any amount for the financial reimbursement but is ready to make suggestions to the Federal Government for consideration.

“For example, when we stopped all logging activities at the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve, whatever losses to be borne by the State Government, we hope the Federal Government will pay about the similar amount,” he said.

In March, Mukhriz was reported as saying the State Government is committed to conserving the natural habitat of the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve despite losing substantial revenue from the forest and its resources since the revocation of logging permits in Ulu Muda.

In another development, he also welcomed the proposal by the Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry to issue guidelines on the jurisdiction of State Governments in managing forests in their own States.

He added the State Government was always concerned on the environmental sustainability and described forests as the water catchment area.

“But, we need to refine the guidelines, we also want to understand what is allowed, and disallowed,” he added.

Yesterday, the Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said his Ministry would propose amendments to the National Forestry Act 1984 to enable the guidelines that touch on the issuing of logging licence and gazetting of forests to be part of the Act.