KOTA KINABALU, Feb 21 — The state government has been asked to clarify the status of the controversial carbon credit project which has been unclear to the public.

Sri Tanjong assemblyman Justin Wong said that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Jeffrey Kitingan have been issuing contradicting statements about the project.

“Hajiji and Jeffrey are saying different things on the NCA (Nature Conservation Agreement). They have been inconsistent and incoherent about this deal. Jeffrey has the responsibility to explain if the NCA has indeed started or not.

“It seems that they have different views internally in the Sabah Cabinet. Any statement that comes out from any Cabinet member must be consistent and uniform, but what we can see now is discrepancies between Sabah number one and number two,” he said in a statement today.

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According to news reports yesterday, Jeffrey who is the chairman of the Steering and Management Committee for the Implementation of the NCA was reported to have said that Sabah is going ahead with the NCA for carbon credit sales despite objections.

He said that certain non-government organisations (NGOs) had tried to mislead indigenous people in Sabah to reject carbon trading.

Jeffrey, who is also state agriculture, fisheries and food industry minister, had last year confirmed that pilot project for the NCA would be implemented at the Nuluhon Trusmadi Forest Reserve in interior Sabah.

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The pilot project would involve a smaller land area than the initial two million hectares over 100 years. The terms have since been reviewed.

Hajiji had in December last year said that the Sabah government had yet to start the NCA deal due to many technical issues that needed to be resolved.

Wong also urged Jeffrey to explain why the latter insisted on proceeding with the deal with the Singapore-based company Hoch Standard after it emerged there were discrepancies in the companies’ background allegedly involving its US$10 million (RM48 million) paid-up capital.

“Hoch Standard’s paid-up capital was US$1,000. How can we not question this company when it is so young and has such small capital? Jeffrey has to at least make us confident about this company since it is going to handle a pilot project involving 600,000 hectares of Sabah’s land.

“You are essentially giving the wrong signal to the public that even a company with a mere US$1,000 capital could undertake such a huge project,” he said.

Wong said he believed the NGOs in question were not trying to mislead people but were merely acting based on the inconsistent responses from the Sabah government.

“Just like me, I believe that NGOs were only demanding transparency and a detailed explanation about the NCA. The NCA is not a petty matter, it is very important to Sabah as it involves management of carbon credit sales of two million hectares of forest reserves for 100 years,” he said.