Logging halt in Malaysian state of Kedah prompts calls by lobbying group for all states to stop logging activities and issuing of felling and deforestation grants to private companies, individuals

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia , June 5, 2013 () – All state governments should stop all logging activities immediately, said Perkasa Information chief Ruslan Kassim, yesterday.

In a statement, Ruslan said they should follow the stand taken by Kedah menteri besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who had issued stop-work orders on such activities in the state.

Ruslan added that timber felling and deforestation grants should not be awarded to individuals or private companies because it had proven to have affected the livelihood of villagers.

The number of new trees is growing each year but it takes time to get a total forested land.

Ruslan added that if an area is to be developed, for palm oil plantation for example, the concession should be awarded directly to bodies like Federal Land Development Authority (Felda, Felcra Berhad (Felcra) or the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) to avoid illegal logging activities from continuing.

He also said that deforestation and illegal logging activities could destroy the rain forests, which in turn will have negative effects on the environment.

Perkasa, he said, hoped that state governments will focus more on agro-tourism projects to substitute logging activities, as such efforts would lead to a greener environment for Malaysia.

"It has also come to our attention that a handful of logging concessionaires had managed to secure big chunks of land, making huge profits."

"These concessionaires had used the wealth accumulated to accuse the very government that awarded the concessions."

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