IPOH (April 23): The Perak Government will impose a minimum paid-up capital of RM200,000 on companies applying for forest plantation development projects as part of a move to tighten the approval process, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said today.
He said the Perak Forestry Department is streamlining the standard operating procedure or guideline for approving forest plantation development projects to ensure only companies with the required expertise and finance are given the projects.
He said the approval of use permits for forest plantation development is just approval in principle which is subject to certain conditions, including a report on the suitability of the area by the District Forestry Officer and approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report by the Department of Environment (DOE).
“For the information of this august House, under the terms which have not been revised since the country gained independence, a company needs to possess just a hammer to apply for timber concession and forest plantation in the State,” he said.
“As such, I apologise for the confusion earlier which led to the polemics on two-ringgit companies,” he said when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks on the royal address at the State Legislative Assembly here.
Ahmad Faizal, who is State Assemblyman for Chenderiang, said the proposal made by a company to undertake forest plantation development projects in the Kledang Saiong and Bukit Kinta forest reserves was approved at the state Forestry Resource Committee meeting in November last year.
He said when deciding on such applications, the State Government applies certain criteria, like whether the companies concerned are capable and whether the areas applied for are located within the Forest Plantation Development Zone.
The previous administration had approved a Forest Plantation Development Zone measuring 61,189 hectares in the State Permanent Forest Reserve but the Pakatan Harapan government had reduced it to 35,000 hectares, he said.
“Of this figure, 7,828 hectares has been worked on while the rest is still in the process of document preparation like EIA Report and Forest Plantation Management Plan,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said the State Government had decided that government-owned premises cannot be used for political activities by any party, including Pakatan Harapan.
“This was decided at the State Government meeting for the sake of the people’s harmony,” he said.
Ahmad Faizal said certain parties had taken advantage by using government premises for political purposes.
“If it involves services or health, it is not political work but if a prize-presentation programme for outstanding students sees party flags being raised, leaders criticising the government, that is not allowed,” he said.
The State Assembly sitting adjourned sine die today.