Report: Logging in forest reserve threatens water supply to Penang, Kedah, Perlis

A view from the highway that skirts the Ulu Muda Forest near Baling, Kedah. — Google Maps pic
A view from the highway that skirts the Ulu Muda Forest near Baling, Kedah. — Google Maps pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — The supply of clean water to over four million people in three northern states is at risk due to logging activities in Kedah’s Ulu Muda Forest Reserve (HSUM).

Boatman Osman jab, 43, who works in the forest reserve claimed logging activities there had increased and was now less than 50 metres away from Sungai Labua, which flows into the Empangan Muda dam, which is fed by the water run-off from the HSUM, Malay daily Kosmo! reported today.

“This area used to be a haven for those visiting HSUM for its natural beauty, one could also fish, hike and camp.

“But the logging activities carried out here since 2008 has destroyed the forest and it has affected the livelihood of those who rely on the water supply,” he was quoted saying.

The paper cited Perlindungan Khazanah Alam Malaysia (PEKA) as saying that some 100,000 hectares of forest, 100 species of mammals and 50 species of reptiles were affected by the logging that has been going on for nearly a decade.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Hanipah was also reported saying the state government has instructed the Forestry Department to investigate the matter and ensure concession companies are following guidelines when logging.

“We want the forest reserve’s ecosystem to be well protected, the state government has instructed that the Forestry Department investigate the logging activities in the HSUM,” he was quoted saying.

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