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Palanivel Knows Mastermind Behind Illegal Land Clearing

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CAMERON HIGHLANDS – Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel is in the know over the existence of the mastermind behind the illegal land-clearing in Cameron Highlands which led to the flash flood and landslides there recently.

While admitting the person’s existence, coupled with photographic evidence, the Cameron Highlands member of parliament said he “cannot say much” or disclose more about the matter.

“Earlier, maybe about 20 years ago, Cameron Highlands was a preserved area, there was no illegal land clearing. Farming was very good, the farmers did very good farming, they were exporting to Singapore and other countries up to RM2 billion in value.

“Now, however, something is happening, I am still unable to control them,” he told reporters in Cameron Highlands, Monday.

Earlier, he attended the Special Meeting on Flash Floods and Landslides in Cameron Highlands which was chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin at the District and Land Office.

Palanivel said the Vegetable Farmers’ Association from the Chinese community there had also complained to him about certain parties which were destroying the hills.

“They always complain to me that the hill is being disturbed, the only thing is, ‘something is behind something’, which I cannot reveal too much. I have a few photographs, but I cannot talk too much about it. They are doing some illegal works, this happened (over) the last 10, five years,” he said.

Meanwhile, Palanivel said he would send a letter to the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah to request for an audience to clarify the situation in Cameron Highlands.

“I will send him (Sultan of Pahang) a letter to request for an audience. He was not angry with me. I was here last Tuesday, then in Paris on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Often, I am here, ” he said.

On Nov 20, Sultan Ahmad Shah had said he would meet Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to discuss assistance from the federal government to be given to the state government to resolve the issue of illegal immigrants in the Cameron Highlands.

He had also expressed displeasure over news reports that Cameron Highlands had been overtaken by 30,000 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, adding that it was untrue.

Five people died in the mud flood and landslides in Kampung Raja, Ringlet Town and Lembah Bertam in Cameron Highlands on Nov 5, and more than 90 from 28 families had to be moved to the evacuation centre in the Community Multi-purpose Hall in Ringlet. – BERNAMA

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