PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has questioned a claim by the Kedah state government that it is facing some RM1 billion in lawsuits by logging companies after their concessions were revoked by the previous administration.
This comes after the Perikatan Nasional state government said it needed to find ways to avoid paying RM1 billion in compensation to licensed loggers whose concessions in permanent forest reserves were withdrawn.
Mahathir, whose son Mukhriz’s state government collapsed following a string of defections from PKR and PPBM representatives, said the concessions were previously withdrawn to protect a water catchment area serving four million people and paddy fields in the state as well as neighbouring Perlis.
Mahathir said Kedah had done well in 2018 and 2019 to draw strategic investments worth RM10 billion, creating jobs for youth.
“Now the loggers get new ‘jobs’. Do not sell the forest. Do not sell Kedah’s treasures for your friends, the loggers,” he said in a Facebook post.
Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said his government was considering providing replacement forests, categorised as production forests, to logging concessions, after part of the Ulu Muda Forest was gazetted as water catchment forests.
He said this was to avoid lawsuits from loggers as well as compensation claims of close to RM1 billion.
But Mahathir asked if the state was more afraid of loggers.
“Apparently there is a RM1 billion lawsuit?
“Prove the RM1 billion lawsuit exists and that the state government will lose.”
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