KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — Kedah Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has denied granting any logging licence since becoming the state chief in May, after land clearing was brought to light by a Facebook user recently.
In a statement by his office, Muhammad Sanusi instead said that the Facebook post showing a satellite image of a cleared forest near the Ahning Dam in Kuala Nerang was an effort to tarnish the image of the current state government.
“According to Forestry Department records, logging licences in the area near the Ahning Dam were given in 2019.
“It is effective from February 25 to August 25 (as the licence renewed by the Forestry Department due to unfinished harvesting work),” said the statement.
The statement added that the Forestry Department issued a logging licence to extract all resources before the land was transferred to the conglomerate Tradewinds Corporation Bhd.
“The decision to grant land ownership to the company was reached at the Land and Revenue Committee meeting on August 1, 2017,” said the statement.
The MB at that time was Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah from Barisan Nasiona’s Umno, who took over from Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir in February 2016.
In April last year, The Star reported that logging has been spotted near one of the four major dams in Kedah, triggering concerns that such activities so close to the lake could dry up its tributaries and affect the water catchment area.
The report stated that the activity was spotted just 28km away from the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve where logging has been banned since September 2018 to protect the vast jungle there.
A trail of logging activities has been spotted in Bukit Keramat in the Kuala Nerang district, revealing a bare hill close to the Ahning Dam and 2km away from the Ahning Lake, one of the state catchment area.
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