Malaysian state of Kedah to step up enforcement to curb illegal logging at permanent forest reserves, which is depriving state of revenue; minister says government will track down mastermind behind recent illegal felling

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia , December 25, 2013 () – Here is the text of news released by official news agency Bernama on its website: The Kedah Government will step up enforcement to curb illegal logging at permanent forest reserves as it was taking a chunk of the state revenue.

Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir said illegally felled timber was eating into the state coffers and the state government would intensify enforcement measures to arrest the activities.

He was commenting on a newspaper report which revealed that several areas in Langkawi, Baling and Padang Terap had been cleared as a result of illegal felling of trees and uncontrolled cultivation of land.

The report quoted Kedah Forestry Department director Ku Azmi Ku Aman as saying investigations revealed the areas involved were intruded by individuals, and not companies.

"The authorities will be tracking down the mastermind behind these activities and at the moment, there was no report they involved insiders," Mukhriz told a media conference after announcing Kedah's Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) results here Thursday.

He said those areas where timber was illegally felled or cleared would be converted into cluster farms to benefit the people.

"These sites will be planted with banana, pineapple and papaya for export to Japan," he added.

On another development, Mukhriz said the state government would look into some out-of-the box approaches to help students in the state to improve the state's position, in terms of academic ranking.

"Of course, I'm happy with the positive results (PMR), but at the same time, we are not satisfied. Our target is for Kedah to come out tops among all the states in the country.

"Some may say this would be a challenge, but I don't think it's impossible. We will set a time-frame and have very specific strategies put in place. I am quite certain we can achieve that," he said.

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