GEORGE TOWN: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow has called for a ban on logging in the Ulu Muda forest reserve in Kedah, an important water catchment area for northern states.
He said negotiations had also started on securing a new source of raw water from Perak.
Chow urged the federal government to compensate Kedah for any loss of revenue caused by a ban on logging in Ulu Muda. The revenue amounts to about RM40 million a year.
Chow said the state government had raised the issue several times in the past with the federal government and Kedah, both of which were then led by the Barisan Nasional, but logging had continued.
Speaking at World Water Day celebrations here today, Chow said that Ulu Muda must remain a forest reserve and an important water catchment area for Perlis, Kedah and Penang.
“Putrajaya has to work out a plan to compensate Kedah every year so that Ulu Muda can be protected and logging stopped. “We need to work together on this very important issue of saving Ulu Muda so that it can be our source of life forever,” he said.
Chow called for a top-level meeting of the three state government leaders, the federal minister for water resources, and the heads of relevant agencies.
He said Penang water supply corporation head Jaseni Maidinsa would help to coordinate the meeting.
Negotiations have started on obtaining raw water from Perak and facilities for water treatment ready to be supplied to Penang.
He said a long-term solution was needed to secure water supplies for Penang’s population of 1.7 million and industries which generated billions in revenue.