Kelantan denies collecting money for red-flagged company

ahmad-yakob-climatePETALING JAYA: Kelantan Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob said today the state government never authorised a carbon credit trading company red-flagged by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to collect money from the public for a project to reduce the “carbon footprint”.

He said anyone who made payments to the company should lodge a report with the police.

“The state government has been accused of collecting money illegally under the carbon trading scheme.

“The state government wishes to stress it never authorised or asked Climate Protectors Sdn Bhd or any other companies to collect money to carry out the carbon trading project,” he said in a statement.

The statement was in response to an allegation by Amanah vice-president Husam Musa on June 3 that Kelantan approved one million acres (404,685ha) of permanent forest reserve for a carbon credit trading scheme.

Husam said he feared the scheme might be a scam to cheat the public as it aimed to raise funds by selling digital tokens.

The enormous forest area, approved to Climate Protectors under a 30-year concession, covers a quarter of the state’s land mass and includes a portion of Taman Negara.

Husam said Climate Protectors and its associate EcoBit were listed on BNM’s website on June 23 as companies operating without the central bank’s approval.

According to a write-up on EcoBit’s website, the concession would be used “to preserve the rainforest and to reduce polluted gases in the air to reduce carbon footprints”.

The write-up, under the heading “30 years profit”, said the project would be implemented in phases, and invited investors to take part.

“This is where your contribution and investment comes in.

“With the help of your investment, not only will you be gaining returns but you will also be contributing greatly in the reduction of carbon credit globally,” it said.

The company promised to pay investors a bonus every six months which would be credited automatically into their bank accounts.

Ahmad said the deal with Climate Protectors was signed on Jan 9 and gave the company two years to conduct a scientific analysis, valuation and verification report by certified independent scientists to determine the carbon stocks in the designated state forest.

“The next phase of implementation will depend on the time taken for the study and the capability of the company in managing the project.

“During this period of study, the state government will seek the views of a third party from a reputed financial institution on the business.

“The state will also hold discussions with any institution or country which is implementing or has implemented the REDD project,” he said.

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) is a programme involving conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks launched under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Its objective is to mitigate climate change through reducing net emissions of greenhouse gases through enhanced forest management.

Last January, PAS official organ Harakahdaily reported that Kelantan would pioneer carbon credit trading in Malaysia in an effort to reduce the emissions of carbon from rampant logging activities.