Malaysia: Kelantan govt -- Logging has led to environmental degradation in Gua Musang area

SYED AZHAR The Star 7 Oct 16;

KOTA BARU: The Kelantan government says logging activities in the Balah forest reserve in Gua Musang has led to environmental degradation, particularly rivers which run through it.

Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Abdullah said silt and loose earth could have made their way from logging areas into the rivers.

However, he stressed that the damage caused was not enough to deem the rivers " heavily polluted".

He added that the state environment department would be aware of this as they had to comply with environmental impact assessment requirements," he said at Dataran Ilmu here on Friday.

Mohd Amar said any work within the forest reserve impacts the environment, which is why an EIA report is needed.

"At the end of the day, I believe we can solve their problem which I personally think is a misunderstanding between the loggers and the orang asli," he said.

On Sept 28, a brawl nearly broke out between scores of orang asli and henchmen of loggers, who confronted the orang asli manning a blockade with chainsaws and a shotgun.

The Kelantan government has since issued stop work orders to two logging companies to ease the tension and find an amicable solution to the stand off.

Kelantan govt admits potential damage to environment
SYED AZHAR The Star 8 Oct 16;

KOTA BARU: The Kelantan government has admitted that logging activities in the Balah forest reserve in Gua Musang may be causing environmental degradation, especially for rivers.

Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Abdullah said such activities may have caused silt and loose earth coming from logging areas to flow into the rivers.

“However, I do not think it is that bad that it is causing the rivers to be heavily polluted,” he said yesterday.

Otherwise, he said, the state Department of Environment would have been aware of the problem as logging activities must also comply with the Environmental Impact Assessment requirements.

Mohd Amar was commenting on claims by the orang asli community in Gua Musang that logging activities in the area were causing environmental problems, especially contamination to the rivers.

The community claimed that they now faced difficulties getting clean water as the rivers have turned muddy.

Mohd Amar also acknowledged that any activities carried out in the forest reserve would have an impact on the environment and that was why an EIA report was needed before works could start.

“I believe we can solve the problem faced by the orang asli, which I personally think is a misunderstanding between them and the loggers,” he said.

On Sept 28, a brawl nearly broke out between scores of orang asli and the loggers’ henchmen who confronted the orang asli manning a blockade with chainsaws and a shotgun.

However, no one was injured while three orang asli are said to have been detained for hours by plainclothes policemen.

Since then, the Kelantan government had issued stop-work orders to two logging companies to ease the tension and find an amicable solution to the stand-off.

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