ALOR SETAR, Aug 26 — The Kedah government is seeking RM100 million in compensation from the Federal government for using the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve in Sik as water catchment area for domestic and agricultural needs.
Kedah Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said the state government had negotiated with the Natural Resources Ministry to seek compensation to maintain the catchment areas.
“We are asking for RM100 million as compensation for the retention of water catchment areas in (Forest Reserve) Ulu Muda,” he said when replying to a supplementary question from Mohd Asmirul Maher Aris (PH-Kubang Rotan) during a question and answer session at the Kedah state assembly here, today.
Earlier, Mohd Asmirul wanted to know the state government’s commitment in ensuring that 96,558 hectares of paddy fields in the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) area which also gets its water resources from the forest reserve was assured.
Muhammad Sanusi also reiterated the state government’s stance that will continue to maintain the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve area from being involved in any logging activities in an effort to ensure that the water catchment area was preserved.
He said the state government was also committed and assured to take care of the water catchment area, which could benefit 4.2 million people in Kedah, Perlis and Penang for domestic, agricultural and industrial use.
“The state government is continuing its policy of preserving the environment and needs to consider alternate areas elsewhere allowed by the Forestry Department to meet the demands submitted by logging companies,” he said in response to Mohd Asmirul’s original question.
Meanwhile, replying to a question from Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Jitra-Independent) who wanted to know the actual amount of the claim from the Logging Companies Association, whose concessions in Ulu Muda were cancelled, Muhammad Sanusi said RM40,000 per hectare was claimed involving a total area of 25,553 hectares.
Logging concessionaires demand compensation from the state government after their concession was cancelled in the forest reserve which was gazetted as a water catchment area by the previous state government under the leadership of Pakatan Harapan (PH) in March 2019.
Muhammad Sanusi also informed that the previous state government, when Mukhriz was the Menteri Besar, had removed all logging restrictions in the forest reserve area at the Land Revenue Committee Meeting on May 5, 2020. — Bernama