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IPOH, Nov 7 — Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said today that reports about the state government allowing logging in Royal Belum State Park in Gerik are inaccurate.
“The first thing I want to say is that there is no logging activity at all by the state government at Royal Belum and there is no evidence to prove that there is illegal logging activity as well,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the state government and Ambank Islamic Berhad.
Ahmad Faizal points out that Royal Belum has been gazetted as a state park and may be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
“We are committed to looking after the 130-million-year-old forest reserve and we would not allow any logging activity there,” he assured.
Last week, several news portals reported that Ahmad Faizal dismissed the importance of the forest reserve and accused him of not protecting the site, which is older than the Amazon and the Congo.
The news portals quoted Ahmad Faizal as saying that it is not fair for the state government to stop all logging in Royal Belum as they will be deprived of the revenue needed to provide services to the people.
Ahmad Faizal explained that the state government requires a lot of funds to take care of the place and protect it from illegal logging activity and wildlife poaching.
“What I said was that the state government is looking for ways to gain income without cutting down any trees at there, even though cutting down trees could earn us money, which is a fact.
“What we suggested instead, is to increase the entrance fee to Royal Belum. We need extra funds in order to preserve and protect the forest reserve which is four times bigger than Singapore. At the moment, we only have 12 rangers to look after the entire jungle,” he said.
“However, my statement was misinterpreted,” he added.
Ahmad Faizal, however, said that finding extra funding is longer an issue as the federal government has allocated RM60 million for the state government to maintain the state's natural treasures, including Royal Belum.