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State govts should stop logging for 10 years: minister

SEGAMAT, Jan 13 (Bernama) -- Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim proposed that all state governments stop logging for 10 years in an effort to prevent flooding.

Shahidan said the federal government and the state governments should cooperate and declare Malaysia as a zero logging country.

"I propose that we stop logging. They (state governments) have to discuss with the federal government to find other sources of income," he told reporters after visiting six families affected by floods at Balai Raya Kampung Batu Badak, here today.

He said the federal government took seriously the issue of logging in Marang (Terengganu), Jerantut and Cameron Highlands (Pahang) and Gua Musang (Kelantan). "For example, Kelantan's beautiful forests have fallen victims to human hands, leaving a trail of destruction and rendering them worthless."

Shahidan also slammed a state government for denying that the floods were not related to excessive logging and land clearing.

"They must investigate and correct things. Do not deny the allegations as we have the facts. We do not want the people to blame the state government, the forest rangers said the Forestry Department for destroying our forests.

Asked about proof of illegal logging in Kelantan which caused severe flooding, he said the proof was in the form of photographs.

"They clearly show the situation on the ground. I will give them to the menteri besar (Datuk Ahmad Yakob) so that he can come and see for himself."

Shahidan said he will try to meet with the Attorney-General tomorrow to discuss action that can be taken against those involved in illegal logging.


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