DAP MP: Why was Perak forest reserve given to company formed just after GE14?

Kampar MP Thomas Su speaks to reporters outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office in Meru February 11,2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Kampar MP Thomas Su speaks to reporters outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office in Meru February 11,2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Feb 11 — The Perak government must explain the reason why it awarded a 400-hectare land concession to a newly-formed private company with a paid-up capital of just RM2, DAP’s Thomas Su said today.

The private company is understood to have been awarded concession of two forest reserves, namely Kledang Saiong and Bukit Kinta.

The Kampar MP questioned how a company with a paid up capital of RM2 could be given a 400-hectare concession just approximately five months after it was set up.

“The company was established on July 26 after the 14th general election and it was given a total of 400 hectare land for forest farm development (pembangunan ladang hutan) on December 14 at Kledang Saiong and Bukit Kinta Forest Reserve,” he said today after lodging a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the matter.

Su said he was tipped off on the matter after the approval letter from the Perak Forestry Department became viral on social media.

“This is wrong as the Mentri Besar had said the Pakatan Harapan government would suspend all logging activities but now this is happening,” he said, questioning how a five-month-old company with no profile record obtain 400 hectare land in the forest.

“We want to know why the company was chosen and why not other companies,” he added, noting that if forest reserves are constantly being degazetted, Perak would end up with no more forest reserves.

Su also said after the approval letter became viral online, he received calls from farmers in his constituency who had been working on state land.

“They have been working on the land for generations and applications for land being rejected but a five-month-old company can easily obtain land,” he said.

As the new government, Su said the Perak Pakatan Harapan government should not follow the Barisan Nasional practice of giving out land indiscriminately.

“Even if it was degazetted during BN time, the current government can gazette it back,” he said, urging the Mentri Besar to cancel the approval immediately.

On February 6, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) raised the alarm of suspicious land clearing activities at Kledang Hill, that is part of the Kledang-Saiong Forest Reserve.

Perak Forestry Department director Datuk Mohamed Zin Yusop had said that the Mentri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc) owned the parcel and it has been degazetted as part of the forest reserve.

Mentri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc) Chief Executive Officer Anuar Zainal Abidin later confirmed that the land clearing near the iconic Kledang hill is indeed illegal encroachment for the purpose of oil palm plantation.

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