Penang water body warns of dry taps if logging resumes in Ulu Muda

The Ulu Muda forests serve the water needs of over four million people in Penang, Kedah and Perlis. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBA) today warned that the resumption of logging activities in Ulu Muda, Kedah would affect the water supply of over four million users in three states.

In a statement, PBA chief executive Jaseni Maidinsa said logging in Ulu Muda would compromise the sole water catchment area in the northern region which serves Perlis, Kedah and Penang.

This comes after the Kedah government said it would need to find ways to avoid paying RM1 billion in compensation to licensed loggers whose concessions in permanent forest reserves had been withdrawn.

The concessions were withdrawn by the previous Pakatan Harapan government to protect the water catchment area, which provides some 80% of the raw water supply in Penang and 70% and 96% of supply in Perlis and Kedah.

Jaseni said it made no sense for the new Kedah government to “prioritise the interests of 40 logging companies above the well-being of 4.2 million Malaysians in three states”.

“It should be noted that 2.2 million of the 4.2 million people who will be adversely affected are living in Kedah,” he added.

He urged the new administrations in Kedah and Putrajaya to uphold the Ulu Muda logging ban.

“At this point in time, there is no other water catchment area that can replace Ulu Muda for all three states.”

He called on the environment and water ministry to work with the Kedah government in order to protect Ulu Muda, warning that logging activities there could lead to dry taps and affect 16 Northern Corridor Economic Regions in the three states.

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