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Is Malaysia state Perak forest land being sold to political cronies, asks politician

Predeep Nambiar FREE MALAYSIA TODAY Mon, September 7, 2020

Hamidah Osman claimed the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve, was among the sites which has been earmarked for logging and forest farming activities. (Twitter pic)

IPOH: A politician today claimed that many parts of Perak’s forests are being earmarked for logging and forest farming activities, thereby threatening key water catchment areas.

Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) vice-president Hamidah Osman also alleged that according to an open letter, written by one “Yeop Kidai”, the plots of land were awarded to companies with political links to PPBM and to those with political power in the state government.

In a Facebook Live video, she claimed the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve was one of the areas affected, with blocks of 400ha land given to newly formed companies whose shareholders were politically linked for forest farming.

She also claimed that some of these companies obtained large tracts of land within eight months of incorporation.

Hamidah, who was a three-term Perak assemblyman from 2004 to 2013 and was once a PPBM vice-president, said this information was derived from the open letter. The six-page letter has been shared widely on social media.

”To carry out logging, especially in the Kledang Saiong area, which is an important water catchment area, for the sake of farmed forests is irresponsible.

“Some of these lands are given up under the ‘ladang rakyat’ scheme. This is meant for smallholders, not companies.

“Now, is Perak being shared among cronies? Is Perak on sale? Is Perak on a cheap sale or wholesale, with thousands of acres to be given to cronies?

“The owners of these companies are politically linked. The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) has investigated open letters before. So, I’ve reported this to the MACC as it involves the menteri besar and those linked to him,” she said.

In a statement, Perak MB Ahmad Faizal Azumu said he was aware of a MACC report lodged by Hamidah against him over the poison-pen letter spread on social media and that he was willing to be investigated for any wrongdoing.

“I am personally ready to give full cooperation to MACC to carry out an investigation on the said report. This is in line with the rule of law principle upheld by the Perak state government,” he said.

Source: FREE MALAYSIA TODAY, MALAYSIA Mon, September 7, 2020

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