Perak Umno: Was award of forest reserve made with open tender?

Datuk Saarani Mohamad (pic) reminded the state government of its election manifesto promise to implement open tender when awarding timber concessions. ― Picture by Marcus Pheong
Datuk Saarani Mohamad (pic) reminded the state government of its election manifesto promise to implement open tender when awarding timber concessions. ― Picture by Marcus Pheong

IPOH, Feb 12 — Perak Umno waded into the 400-hectare forest reserve controversy by questioning if the award to a RM2 company by the Perak state government was made with an open tender.

Its liaison committee chief, Datuk Saarani Mohamad, reminded the state government of its election manifesto promise to implement open tender when awarding timber concessions.

“If the state had practised open tender, it should not be a problem for them to reveal the list of companies that had been given concessions since PH formed the government,” he said.

Speaking in a news conference here today, the Kota Tampan assemblyman also questioned how the company used a legal firm in Taiping as its registered office.

“During Barisan Nasional’s rule, we do background checks on companies that apply for concessions. We want to ensure the company is truly qualified before awarding them the contract. Certainly not to a five-month-old company with RM2 paid-up capital,” he said.

On Monday, Kampar MP Thomas Su lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on the award.

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

Saarani also questioned what happened to the monitoring and enforcement as bellowed by the state government.

“It is amusing that a vanishing forest, located in the middle of the city, could escape the eyes of the elected representatives of the area,” he added.

Saarani noted in their haste to link past corrupt practices to BN, PH was now acting the same.

He also said Perak Umno would lodge a report with MACC to get the commission to investigate the matter.

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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