JITRA – The Kedah state government is ready to discuss with the Penang and Perlis governments on logging issues in Ulu Muda, Sik, in an effort to protect the area and retain it as a water catchment area for common interests.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Mahathir said the discussion would also include compensation request from the federal government in lieu of forest premiums following Kedah’s lack of sustainable income sources such as oil and gas, compared to other states.
“Water is a huge asset to Kedah and we will make sure the supply is adequate as it is not only for the Kedahans but also for those in Penang and Perlis…We can sit down on the matter, we know where the logging problem is and I do think Kedah can resolve the issue.
“Secondly, on the compensation matter, from my meeting with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday (Saturday) he was prepared to give due attention to the state government’s request because he understands we have already sacrificed by contributing to the national rice production,” he told reporters after attending the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Aidilfitri open house at the Dataran Darul Aman here, today.
Meanwhile, Mukhriz said the state government would also ask for allocation in the form of grants to develop the water supply infrastructure to the interior of Kedah, then to Penang and Perlis.
“Previously, what we have received were in the form of loans that burden the state government and our debt to the federal government in relation to the development of water infrastructure had already reached more than RM2 billion.
“Hence, this is one of the matters that we want to negotiate with the federal government to eliminate most of the state’s debts that we view as reasonable and not to further burden the Kedah government,” he said.
Yesterday, Penang Chief Minister, Chow Kon Yeow expressed his wish to hold talks with both the Kedah and federal governments on the issue of logging in Ulu Muda which was a threat to the catchment area at the Muda Dam.
He said the water catchment area in the Muda Dam, Ulu Muda, that channelled water to Kedah, Penang and Perlis, was shrinking and he was worried that the three states would face the risk of water crisis in the future. – BERNAMA