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Heat on Kedah over logging fiasco

 | July 18, 2012

MB Azizan Abdul Razak's alleged plan to clear some of the state's forests and make logging a major source of income continues to draw flak.

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional leaders today piled more pressure on the Kedah Pakatan Rakyat government over what they described as weak policies, this time chiding its purported plan to make logging a major revenue source.

Barisan Nasional-owned English daily The Star today published a report on the growing outrage over Kedah Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak’s alleged plan to clear some of the state’s forests for its “people’s estates” rubber plantation programme.

Some of them are said to be virgin forests with centuries-old trees considered to be of high value. The daily said there had been several protests held by villagers affected by the scheme while environmentalists have dismissed the plan as a facade for logging.

It further reported that the latest area purportedly approved for logging is the Jeniang forest reserve in Sungai Petani which has been divided into compartments of between 80ha and 100ha each, with red paint used to mark the boundaries.

Jerlun MP and Deputy International Trade Minister Mukhriz Mahathir criticised the move in a posting on micro-blogging site Twitter, calling on Kedah voters to oust the Pakatan government in the general election.

He also rapped pro-Pakatan environmentalists who often censured the Barisan Nasional coalition for any green law violations but remain quiet when it comes to the opposition federal opposition bloc.

Weak policies

“Save Kedah from the ridiculous leaders of Pakatan Rakyat. Why are the ‘green fighters’ who (so often) attack BN quiet?” he asked.

The state’s Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang, who has been vocal against the Azizan administration, also took the opportunity to attack the Kedah government, calling the policy “wrong” through his Twitter posting.

“Wrong for PAS to make logging as the main source of income in Kedah. Let’s save Kedah environment from PAS government,” he said.

The fresh allegation will likely help BN add more pressure on the embattled Kedah MB who is already struggling to deflect external and internal accusations of weak governance.

Azizan is also facing possible isolation from his own party PAS over the latter’s contentious policies, including the ban on entertainment outlets and suspending five students for joining a pro-BN protest against his administration under the Universities and University Colleges Act.

The UUCA is a law his own party and other component allies in Pakatan had sought to abolish.

Political pundits are already predicting a power shift in Kedah, saying the upcoming BN administration can owe its success to Azizan’s self-alienating policies.


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