PKR wants Pahang to probe illegal logging after Telemong ‘timber tsunami’

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Calls for an independent inquiry into the log slides and mudflows.

Pahang PKR has demanded the state government to take stern action against those involved in illegal logging activities in the state instead of protecting the timber tycoons.

In a statement yesterday, its communications bureau chief Wan Fauzuldin Wan Samad warned the ruling coalition not to victimise the people and prioritise profit.

“The state government should prioritise the safety of the people instead of protecting the timber tycoons who have long sucked the people’s blood,” he said.

“The issue of logging – be it licensed or illegal – has been raised by us often so that this activity can be controlled and taken seriously by the authorities.

“Any uncontrolled logging activity will not only pollute the environment but also have a negative impact on the people during monsoon season,” he said.

He regretted that the warning from the opposition was not taken seriously, and the government responded as though they had acted according to the rules and things were under control.

Citing the alleged “timber tsunami” in Sri Telemong Bridge, Bentong, Wan Fauzuldin said there were video clips showing how the scattered timbers were washed away by floodwaters and piled up in the river.

“Most worrying was that these timbers washed down to the housing area. This incident took place in Karak, and it was not an empty story as what the state government attempted to deny.

“We call for a transparent investigation to be conducted by the state government and stern action to be taken against anyone regardless of his or her position if it is proven that laws have been violated related to the logging activity,” he added.

Last week, environmental activist Khaidir Ahmad alleged that the mudflows and log slides in Telemong between Dec 18 and 19 were due to land-clearing activities for illegal Musang King durian plantations in the area.

DAP’s Bentong MP Wong Tack claimed a “timber tsunami” had hit the village where he grew up, causing widespread devastation in some parts of his constituency.

Forty-five NGOs and local communities have since called for an independent inquiry into the log slides and mudflows.

On Dec 30, 2021, the Pahang Forestry Department denied that wood debris piled up in the river was due to logging at forest reserve as claimed by the environmental activist and the lawmaker.

The department said it was actually debris from the water surge incident in Sungai Temeriak, Sungai Kerau and Sungai Timbul on Dec 18. – Malaysiakini