KUANTAN – The Pahang government said today it is willing to cancel the logging and development projects in the Merapoh Forest in Lipis near here after taking into account the significance of the area as a water catchment.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the project would have been cancelled if he had been informed about it much earlier.
He said the logging project was under Yayasan Pahang (YP) while the development of the oil palm plantation was on land belonging to the Pahang Agricultural Development Board (LKPP).
“The proceeds from the logging by YP is used to provide scholarships (to Pahang students). The LKPP land was given in 1992. The problem now is that we were informed late.
“If it is critical as a water catchment, we can cancel it. YP can look for another place to log, LKPP can find another area for its oil palm … it is not so difficult because the menteri besar is chairman of YP and LKPP,” he said.
Adnan spoke to reporters after opening the Conference on Sustainable and Responsible Mineral Resources Development in Malaysia here today. Also present was Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hamim Samuri.
The menteri besar said people who knew that the project could have an impact on the environment should have informed him immediately and not wait until the damage had been done.
“Do not wait until the forest has been cut down to tell me. We must work together … do not just keep saying negative things about the menteri besar. Don’t expect the menteri besar to bring a measuring tape to measure everything,” he said.
Logging activities in Merapoh became a heated issue in late October with the involvement of environmental non-governmental organisations which led to the solidarity of the international community on social media through #savemerapoh.
The logging carried out to open up a road for the transportation of forest products before work on an oil palm estate begins has also caught the attention of the federal government.
On Nov 30, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar was reported to have said he had instructed the Director-General of the Department of Environment to issue a stop-work order for all activities in that forest. – BERNAMA