In August, multiple areas around Gunung Jerai in Yan, Kedah was hit by flash floods after a heavy downpour. The natural disaster was reported to have claimed 6 lives.
While discussing the matter in the Parliament sitting yesterday (20 September), the Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said the natural disaster was an “Act of God” and not caused by illegal logging.
According to The Star, Takiyuddin is responding to a question raised by the Jerai Member of Parliament (MP), Sabri Azit during Question Time.
The question asked was what steps were being taken by the Ministry to make forests more sustainable along the roads leading to the peak of Gunung Jerai, which had been destroyed by the recent flash flood.
“This is an act of god.” Takiyuddin said.
The Opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was obviously unimpressed with the explanation given by the Minister and he stood up and said “We cannot blame it on God (if it was caused) by the greediness of people.”
“This is the same as a former Works Minister who would (call) such incidents an act of God.” he said.
Takiyuddin then denied Anwar’s claims and said that the area has been declared as the National Geo Park of Jerai, hence, logging activities are not allowed in the area.
He added that the Geo Park is situated under the Ulu Muda forest, with an area of 106,000 hectares, of which, 12% is a protected area, and the remaining 88% can be used for logging.
Takiyuddin then said the data from 2014 to 2019 shows that a total of 25,000 hectares in the Kedah Permanent Forest Reserve (HSK) was approved for logging, but no lumbering activity has ever taken place within that period of time.
He said the flash flood had uprooted trees, as he observed that the trunk was swept away along with its roots.
“So there was no logging in the Jerai area. This is why I said it is an act of God.” he added.
Meanwhile, he said that there are no violations of the Annual Felling Ration (CTT) of cultivable forests being recorded nationwide over the past 2 years.
He said that a total of 39,354 hectares of CTT was approved last year but only 22,931 hectares were cultivated and in 2019, a total of 43,299 hectares of CTT were approved and only 10,949 hectares were cultivated.