Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Logging in Perak

Logging (Tempoh) from June 08 till Dec 08. Entrance to logging
area at 11.3 km from Grik-Kulim Highway (N5deg 29.236' E101deg 03.886')

Logs and Gunung Kenderong at the background.

Elephant dung just a kilometer from the new highway.

There was so much news on logging in Kedah (read the news below). Penangites are worry too - "Penang fears Kedah logging could jeopardise water supply" (news attached below).

But are you aware that PERAK is also going on a logging spree? How come Penang is not worry that the logging in Perak will affect Penang's water supply too?

Look at the
google map and you could see that the streams and rivers from the present logging sites (the area left of Gunung Kenderong and Gunung Kerunai) in Perak empty into Sg Kupang and joining Sg Muda.

The new highway from Kulim to Grik actually cut through pristine jungle. Wildlife are abundant. On one of my camping cum exploring trip, I saw elephants' dungs and foot prints of large animals like deers, wildboars, bears and heard an unconfirm wild cat (tiger?).

This area around the two mountains (which ironically an important limestone outcrops) is also rich in biodivisity. We have seen fireflies at night and rare hornbills eating bayas fruits in the jungle. A scientific expedition could only reveal more flora and fauna in that area.

If you check the map, with the new highway (still not shown in google map yet), the area has been disected into smaller area. And I wonder whether they can sustain the wild elephants and wildlife. It will come a time when conflict of elephants and human will be seen...and that will be very soon if nothing was done to stop the logging.
Are we going to wait till our water supply jeopardised before we take any action? Is our Pakatan Government really care a hoot about our environment? or are they just like Barisan Najis?

----------News on Logging in Kedah from Staronline------------

Monday June 23, 2008
Kedah told to be alert for loggers

ALOR STAR: The state government has been told to not deal with “environmental culprits” from Sarawak who eye logging tenders in catchments.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) coordinator Mohd Nizam Mahshar claimed that logging companies in Sarawak had bad track records.

He said this in response to Mentri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak’s announcement that the state would hold discussions with a logging company from Sarawak that knew how to carry out selective logging in catchments without causing adverse impact on the environment.

Mohd Nizam said environment groups would go all out to object to the heli-harvesting plan in the 122,000ha Ulu Muda forest reserve that housed the Ahning, Muda and Pedu dams.

“Allowing logging in the area would be a big mistake as it would have far reaching implication on food security, and water supply,” he said.

Azizan, however, has given a personal guarantee that the environment would not be affected as only the old and decaying trees would be removed.

He likened the process as “removing grey hairs.”

“We are merely rejuvenating the forest by removing old trees to make way for new ones,” he said after a ceramah at Muasasah Datul Ulum in Pokok Sena, held in memory of PAS leader Datuk Fadzil Noor who passed away six years ago.

In any case, he said the state would not proceed with the plan without approval from the relevant authorities, including the Department of Environment.

Tuesday June 24, 2008
A folly to log in Kedah just to make ends meet

A COUPLE of years ago the nation was shocked with the image of Lojing in Kelantan; mighty trees and greens of thousands of years fell from the greed of men. After some finger-pointing the news trail turned cold, no one was to blame and no one was to take the responsibility.

Now the new PAS-led government, after winning another state, is reliving the past. Logging in Kedah is not a major industry.

The past state government once planned to log the Muda Reserve but the plan was scrapped over environmental concerns.

But now the same idea has re-emerged and this time by the new government.

It is true that money is needed by the state, not just Kedah, but every other state to ensure a well-run government which in turn would benefit the people. But to destroy something to achieve another is a folly.


Sungai Petani.


Sunday June 22, 2008
Kedah to use heli-harvesting

ALOR STAR: The Kedah Government is going ahead with its plan to allow selective logging in the Ulu Muda catchment areas using the heli-harvesting technique.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak, however, assured the public that the catchment areas would still be preserved because only selective logging to remove decaying trees would be allowed.

“We will be using the heli-harvesting technique to remove the decaying old trees that are more than 100 or 200 years old.

“That means we will only be removing a few trees every hectare,” he said.

He said Kedah had no other choice as it had to cope with rising expenditure.

“We are desperate to increase the revenue to make ends meet as the Federal Government is not keeping its promise to pay RM100mil annually in compensation for sparing the catchment areas,” he said.

Azizan said this in response to objections from various quarters against the state’s plan to carry out logging activities in catchments.

Azizan said the state need not carry out selective logging in reserved forests covering 122,000ha if the Federal Government fulfilled the promise made in 2003 to pay RM100mil a year as compensation for preserving the catchment areas.

The Federal Government had paid the money once when Datuk Seri Syed Razak Syed Zain was mentri besar, he said.

On calls by Sahabat Alam Malaysia for the Penang Government to pay compensation to Kedah for preserving catchments that are crucial to ensure continuous water supply to Kedah, Azizan said they would appreciate it if Penang contributed.

“But it is not our intention to disturb Penang and Perlis that are dependent on water sources from Kedah,” he said.

Saturday June 21, 2008
Penang fears Kedah logging could jeopardise water supply

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Government wants Kedah to rethink its plan to allow logging in the Muda catchment area because it could jeopardise its water supply.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government was deeply concerned over the move as 80% of Penang raw water came from Sungai Muda.

“We believe that logging in the Muda dam catchment area will have an adverse impact on water resources and utilisation in Penang.

“At a time when our forests are dwindling, logging, especially in catchment areas, is not seen as sustainable development,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He added that the country should be focused on reducing logging, not expanding it.

“I understand that Kedah has been put in a difficult position following the Federal Government’s failure to deliver compensation. However, I feel that conducting RM16bil worth of logging is not a proportionate sentiment,” Lim added.

On Wednesday, Kedah Mentri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak announced that the state would be calling for tenders for logging activities at the Pedu, Muda and Ahning dam catchment areas to cover high state expenditure following the petrol price hike earlier this month.

Azizan said Kedah had to resort to such a move because the Federal Government had failed to deliver annual compensations of RM100mil after the state called off heli-harvesting of timber in the catchment areas in 2003.

Lim said he had instructed Penang Water Supply Corporation General Manager Jaseni Maidinsa to write to Azizan. If necessary, Lim would see him directly.

Jaseni, who was present at the press conference, said Penangites might see the effects of the logging in the next five years if the plan went ahead.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) coordinator Mohd Nizam Mahshar said Penang should pay for the conservation of water catchments since Kedah needed at least RM650mil annually to maintain the Ulu Muda forest reserve.

“As both states are now Pakatan Rakyat states, they should help each other out,” he said.

SAM president S. M. Mohd Idris said the Government should pay a premium to any state government that took measures to protect catchment areas and the biodiversity.

He said 65,000 farming families depended on the irrigation from Ulu Muda, adding that it would have an adverse impact on the current food crisis.
'I want to make money from God's timber gift'
NST Online
By : Tan Chew Chin

ALOR STAR: Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak yesterday made light of plans to log RM16 billion in timber logging in the Ulu Muda forest reserve, saying he was missing sleep due to calls from friends on the matter.

He said his friends wanted to know what the fuss was about and that he had told them former menteri besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had once said that Perlis did not have to pay for water as it was a gift from God.
"I am now saying timber is also God's gift and I want to make money from it. What's wrong with that?" he said to laughter from reporters after chairing the weekly state exco meeting at the Padang Terap District Council office near here yesterday. Referring to Kedah Umno Youth chief Md Rawi Abdul Hamid's call for a referendum on the proposed logging of an area twice the size of Singapore, he said "maybe someone just learned the word referendum". He described the call as "unnecessary", adding that referendums were normally held to change the constitution or system of government.

"This is just chopping down a few trees and you want us to hold a referendum?" he asked. Md Rawi was among several people including Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who had asked Azizan to reconsider the proposal.
Several non-governmental organisations, including Sahabat Alam Malaysia and the Malaysian Nature Society, had condemned Azizan's plan to log timber in the water basin.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia honorary secretary R. Meenakshi, who estimated about one million trees would be chopped down, had described Azizan's claim that the proposed logging would be environmentally friendly as "nonsense and untrue". Azizan said his logging plan was not new, but similar to what the former BN state government had proposed in 2002, which was rejected by the cabinet. "We are doing what the former state government was afraid to ask from the Federal Government."
State Secretary Datuk Wira Syed Unan Mashri Syed Abdullah said that the previous Federal Government had failed to honour the cabinet's agreement to pay the state government RM100 million for sparing the forest reserve.
"We have been helping the country preserve the area for clean water. If the Federal Government gives us compensation, we will preserve the forest reserve," he said.
Lim says Kedah MB not properly advised
NST Online
By : Amy Chew reporting from Jakarta

CHIEF Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday accused the Kedah government of working with timber concessionaires from Sarawak close to the Barisan Nasional in water catchment areas in the Ulu Muda forest reserve.

He said Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak should reconsider the idea in view of the link to BN."We hope he will reconsider because he is teaming up with these timber concessions from Sarawak which are closely-linked to BN parties." He said it was ironic Azizan was doing so and that "perhaps he was not properly advised" on the matter.
"After winning power, to be working so closely with BN vested interests is something quite unexpected."
Lim said the DAP was opposed to the move as it would affect water resources in both Kedah and Penang.He was speaking to the New Straits Times in Jakarta after a presentation at the 2nd World Peace Forum yesterday.
The controversy began after Azizan urged the Federal Government to allocate RM100 million annually or face the possibility of logging in water catchment areas in the state.
He had said that the state government was losing millions in revenue because they could not log trees for timber.Azizan, who said that timber near the catchment areas was worth over RM16 billion, ran into criticism for suggesting that the Ulu Muda forest reserve be logged.
Among his fiercest critics was Lim who had said that logging in the area would lead to catastrophic effects, especially at the Muda Dam. Meanwhile, he told the forum that globalisation was a better model for world peace than geopolitics.
"Globalisation creates ideas, the ability to acquire knowledge. Geopolitics decides whether or not we go to war."

Bar: Kedah can’t log trees near river reserve
Friday June 27, 2008 MYT 5:16:55 PM

PETALING JAYA: The Kedah Government has no right to cut down trees near the Ulu Muda River Reserve as water catchment areas fall under the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959, the Malaysian Bar Council said.

Environmental Law Sub-Committee chairman Roger Tan said that while all forest produce on state land were the property of the state government, most states had laws against polluting water catchment areas.

“The reason for this is because the management of water catchment areas will affect the quality and quantity of water,” he said in a statement.

He added that deforestation would cause irreversible ecological damage that would cause soil pollution especially near the Muda Dam.

“Deforestation hastens soil erosion which in turns affects water quality. This then results in higher cost of water treatment,” he said.

Tan added that trees were important for the protection of water catchment, carbon balance, evapo-transpiration, photosynthesis and production of wood.

“It is disappointing to learn that a state government is willing to sacrifice the environment all in the name of development,” he said.

Gerakan is also against Kedah's decision to cut down trees for profit.

“I had objected strongly against a similar move by the Kedah Government in 2002-2003,” party acting president and former Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said in a statement.

He added that he had approached then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and then Primary Industries Minister Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik to seek their assistance.

“I had stressed on the importance of the water catchment area to Kedah, Penang and Perlis to the present and future generations,” Dr Koh said.

He said this led to Kedah, which was then governed by the Barisan Nasional, to relent and drop the logging proposal.

Dr Koh urged Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to convince his PAS counterpart in Kedah to abandon the logging plan, adding that Lim should also get Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to assist him.

1 comment:

pipit said...

A great tragedy. Reminds me of the story in Les Miserables. The hero stole a piece of bread to feed his starving family, but was caught and sent into years of imprisonment. But in this situation, I wonder who is to blame? Is it the guy who steals to feed his family or the guy who withholds jobs and dues? Guess life's not fair.