Development in Perak: State government facing resistance from NGOs, says MB

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu speaks to reporters in a special interview session at his official residence in Ipoh May 13, 2019. ― Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu speaks to reporters in a special interview session at his official residence in Ipoh May 13, 2019. ― Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, May 13 ― The Perak state government is facing resistance from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) when it comes to developing the state.

Without naming the NGOs, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu blamed them for disrupting the state government's effort to develop Perak.

“When the state wants to log the forest, it raises the ire of NGOs,” he said.

Speaking to the media here yesterday in conjunction with the Perak Pakatan Harapan administration's one-year anniversary, Ahmad Faizal said the state has to consider the matter carefully.

“Timber that has been logged in forests cannot be removed due to human shields that have been set up. When the timber cannot be removed, it is left to rot in the forest and in the end, everybody loses,” he said, adding that it was a constraint to his administration.

Saying he does not think the NGOs are sincere in wanting to help the Orang Asli, Ahmad Faizal said if it really wanted to help the community, it should have programmes like the ones run by state such as adopting their villages.

“Be with them all the time and look after them like they are part of our family. Do not come during holidays on the pretext of loving them or the environment,” he said, adding that there are people who stay in Kuala Lumpur in houses as big as a palace but go into the forest once in a while to try to influence the Orang Asli to stop the logging industry.

Saying logging is not a crime, Ahmad Faizal said the state practises sustainable logging where only trees that have reach certain diameters are logged.

“We want to add more trees that will allow us to increase the state's revenue. Once there is more revenue, the state can help more people,” he said, adding that 48 per cent of Perak is still covered in forest.

Ahmad Faizal also pointed out that timber that has been logged currently is under license given by the previous administration.

“Even if I approved logging in the past year, the trees need to be tagged and it will take some years. To date, none of the concessionaires approved by me have been logged,” he said.

On April 30, 19 non-government organisations and around 100 Orang Asli from various villages braved the rain to send a memorandum to the state government protesting deforestation and farming projects in Perak forest reserves.

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