ALOR SETAR: Kedah Amanah chairman Ismail Salleh has called for a thorough investigation into suspicious activities allegedly taking place at the Bukit Enggang forest reserve in Sik.
He said residents near Bukit Enggang claimed they saw individuals entering and leaving the area, and asked whether the mining and exploration of rare earth elements were still taking place in the area.
“A task force should be established to probe various issues, including the alleged theft of rare earths in the land owned by Menteri Besar Kedah Incorporated, which until now has not been explained by the state government and menteri besar Sanusi Nor,” he told a press conference here today.
In April, 40 people, including 35 foreigners, were charged at the sessions court here with trespassing into the Bukit Enggang forest reserve in Sik last January.
Last October, the Kedah government reportedly recouped losses caused by illegal mining of rare earths in Sik through compound fines on a Chinese national found responsible for the activities.
According to Sanusi, the man paid a RM500,000 compound for illegal mining on Oct 11 and another RM130,000 for trespassing into the forest reserve.
He said the state government was advised that the man should be compounded rather than taken to court, as the maximum compound would go into the state government coffers.
Sanusi denied that MBI Kedah was involved in any rare earths exploration and mining activities at the forest reserve.
In January, MBI Kedah signed a memorandum of understanding with Jangka Bakat Minerals Sdn Bhd and China’s Xiamen Tungsten Co Ltd on the exploration, technical assistance, and mining of rare earths in the state.