Energy and Natural Resources Minister Takiyuddin Hassan said the flash floods at Gunung Jerai in the Yan district of Kedah was an ‘act of God’.
“We regret that the tragedy occurred.
“This was an act of God, fated by Allah,” he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Takiyuddin was responding to Sabri Azit (Perikatan Nasional-Jerai), who had asked the ministry what they were doing to preserve the forests in the Gunung Jerai area, in view of the recent floods in the region.
However, Anwar Ibrahim (Pakatan Harapan-Port Dickson) said Takiyuddin should not blame God for environmental issues.
“Such environmental issues, do not blame God. This was a problem for the former works minister also. When there’s a collapse, it becomes an act of God.
“How do you know it was an act of God when humans are the ones who are greedy and destructive through logging?” Anwar asked.
Takiyuddin insisted that there has been no logging activity in the Gunung Jerai area since it was announced as a national geo-park in 2018.
The minister also said during his visit to the region recently, he saw trees floating down the rivers in the area with their roots intact which means those trees were not felled as a result of logging.
“This shows that there was no logging in the Jerai area. That is why I said it is fated by Allah. An act of God,” he said.
On Aug 18, flash floods in the Gunung Jerai region claimed the lives of four individuals.
Among the locations affected by the floods were the foot of the mountain and areas near rivers such as Perigi, Teroi Bukit, Singkir, Kampung Permatang Keramat, Kampung Lubuk Boi, Pekan Yan Besar, Titi Teras, Kampung Acheh and Kampung Setoi.
Several NGOs had urged the Kedah state government to hold a public inquiry into the cause of the floods following allegations that it was due to logging activity in the area.
However, Kedah Menteri Besar Sanusi Md Nor had denied there was any logging activity in the region.