If Logging Is Not About Cash For Cronies Prove It

“I have gazetted many forest areas for water assets owned by PAAB (Pengurusan Aset Air Berhad, an agency under Xavier’s ministry). The Selangor Forestry Department and Land District Office have transferred hundreds of acres to them

“So, when rebuke comes along saying this (proposal) is contrary to the wishes of the state and federal governments to maintain the number of forest reserves (in the country), I feel that the allegation is very false and deviates from the truth.

“Those who oppose this proposal do not realise they are oblivious and have misunderstood the truth,” Amirudin added.

Xavier previously told Malaysiakini that he was firmly against the degazettement of the forest reserve, saying it sent the wrong message as state governments ought to try to increase forest cover, not reduce it.

Our comment

Mr Amirudin appears to be arrogant in describing people who disagree with him (including senior government ministers) as “oblivious and misunderstanding the truth”.

So, perhaps he could start passing some more facts to those lesser folk – in particular the public who elected him – who need to understand his actions, being they are so unknowing?

Could he release to the public the full minutes of the decision making process and all the information on which the decision was made?

Could he also supply BEFORE the tree choppers race in, details of exactly who the companies are that will be doing the job, who their genuine shareholders are and what the financial arrangements are?

Residents will want full details of exactly how these forests are to be removed, in ADVANCE given the disruption to their lives and indeed livelihoods.

Mr Amirudin has supplied the excuse of ‘danger of fire’ for this timber grab, so could he supply the scientific basis for that popular excuse by logging interests? Natural forests are resistant to fire, whereas plantations are prone to fire – as demonstrated by the Australian fires that were widely fuelled by plantation corridors, making his argument by no means certain and one that ought to have been publicly debated before this sudden decision was made by him.

Sadly Malaysia’s recent history of timber plunder points to a very clear over-riding motivation – which has been cash for cronies. Mr Amarudin needs to work harder to reassure his electorate that the process is not being repeated in this case.

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