PETALING JAYA: The Kelantan government today said an environmental NGO should question Putrajaya’s reluctance to pay oil royalty instead of criticising the PAS-led administration over its defence of carrying out logging in the state.
Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said the federal government owed the state RM14.9 billion in oil royalty since 1992.
“We are just demanding what is rightfully ours and nothing more,” he told FMT.
Amar said this in response to Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) president Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil, who earlier today chastised the Kelantan government over its stance on logging.
She accused the government of being willing to sacrifice the future of the state “simply because it had not received its oil royalty”.
This showed PAS’ narrow-minded thinking and unwillingness to look for other resources of revenue, she said.
Yesterday, Amar was reported to have said the state government was willing to stop all logging activities if the federal government settled the oil royalty payments to Kelantan.
His comments came in the wake of a civil suit filed against the Kelantan government by Putrajaya to protect Orang Asli land rights in the state.
Orang Asli communities in the state are unhappy that their land, which is the source of their livelihood, is being encroached into for logging activities.
In his statement today, Amar said that logging in the state was done by the book and was approved by the National Forestry Council.
“The activist does not know what we are doing. What is more important, protecting the forests or taking care of the interest of the people?
“If the state government is unable to carry out logging, where is it going to get its revenue? Other states are also doing it,” he said.