Perak MB: RM2 company awarded forest farming contract via direct negotiations

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu holds a press conference in Ipoh February 13, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu holds a press conference in Ipoh February 13, 2019. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, Feb 13 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu today said that the state government awarded a newly-formed company 400 hectares of land concessions over two forest reserves through direct negotiations.

The Perak mentri besar said the concession was given through a Forestry Committee chaired by him.

“There are five members in the committee. Myself, as the chairman, the Forestry Department director, his deputy and two state executive councillors Paul Yong and Asmuni Awi,” he told reporters after presenting credentials to new members of the Public Service Commission at the State Secretariat building here.

Ahmad Faizal also said it was not wrong for the company to use a legal firm’s address as its address.

“I think the law firm is a company secretary to the company (that was given the concession). Before I was in the government, I had several companies that were placed under company secretaries who are also lawyers. Such practice is quite normal,” he explained.

Ahmad Faizal said Kampar MP Thomas Su had met him before proceeding to lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Monday.

“It is a fantastic move as his report will allow the MACC to investigate. If indeed there is any hanky-panky in the approval, it is up to the commission to investigate. I welcome the investigations by the MACC,” he said.

Asked if Su’s actions were against the spirit of Pakatan Harapan (PH), Ahmad Faizal said he told the MP that he could lodge a report if he was not satisfied with his explanation.

Su had on Monday questioned the state government for awarding the 400-hectare land concession to a five-month-old company with a paid-up capital of just RM2 that was formed after the 14th general election.

The MP said the company was understood to have been awarded the concession of two forest reserves, namely Kledang Saiong and Bukit Kinta, for the purpose of forest farm development.

On February 6, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) alerted authorities to look into land clearing activities at Kledang Hill that is part of the Kledang-Saiong Forest Reserve.

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