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KANGAR, Jan 12, 2015:

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim claims he has solid proof of illegal logging and land-clearing activities in Gua Musang, one of the causes for the heavy floods in Kelantan recently.

He said the illegal land clearing was in black areas which had been undisturbed since the days of the emergency, but were being cleared by certain quarters for some time now.

“I have solid proof that they were given the Temporary Occupancy Licence (TOL) to clear the land, but the land clearing has gone beyond the permitted areas. I also have information on those doing it.

“Among them are the big businessmen from neighbouring countries. I hope there is a law to take them to court,” Shahidan said after chairing a post-flood meeting with state government agencies here today.

He urged that barricades be installed on all roads leading into the forests and intruders be caught and appropriate action taken against them.

He added that a condition should also be imposed on loggers to plant three trees for every tree cut down. Shahidan said discussions would also be held to appoint Orang Asli as voluntary rangers.

“This move may control the intrusions as the number of those involved in illegal logging is high and it has been happening for a long time, but no action has been taken against them.”

Shahidan said the federal government had discussed the illegal logging and land-clearing issues with the Kelantan government as part of efforts to resolve the problem of flooding in the state.

On the flooding in Perlis, he said initial assessments of losses suffered by padi planters in an area of about 2,335ha were estimated at RM2 million.

This information, he added, had been passed on to the relevant ministries to obtain aid.

“I am satisfied with the service rendered by government agencies, non-government bodies and about 1,000 volunteers in Perlis who helped 445 victims of floods last month.”

However, he said preparations must be made to manage up to 20,000 flood victims.

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