PERAK DUN | Perak will impose a minimum payment of RM200,000 on companies applying for forest plantation development projects as part of a move to tighten the approval process, Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu said today.
Faizal said the Perak Forestry Department is streamlining the standard operating procedure for approving forest plantation development projects, to ensure only companies with the required expertise and finance are awarded.
The approval of use permits for forest plantation development, he added, is just approval in principle, which is subject to certain conditions - including a report on the suitability of the area by the district Forestry Department officer, and approval of the environmental impact assessment report by the Environment Department.
“For the information of this august House, under the terms which have not been revised since the country gained independence, a company needs to possess just a hammer to apply for timber concession and forest plantation in the state,” he said.
“As such, I apologise for the confusion earlier which led to the polemics on two-ringgit companies,” he said when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks on the royal address at the State Legislative Assembly.
Kledang Saiong, Bukit Kinta
Faizal said the proposal made by a company to undertake forest plantation development projects in the Kledang Saiong and Bukit Kinta forest reserves was approved at the state Forestry Resource Committee meeting in November last year.
He said when deciding on such applications, the state government applies certain criteria, like whether the companies concerned are capable and whether the areas applied for are located within the Forest Plantation Development Zone.
The previous BN administration had approved a Forest Plantation Development Zone measuring 61,189ha in the state's permanent forest reserve, but the Pakatan Harapan government had reduced the area to 35,000ha, he said.
“Of this figure, 7,828ha has been worked on, while the rest is still in the process of document preparation, like the EIA report and forest plantation management plan,” he said.
No politics on gov't premises
Meanwhile, he said the state government had decided that government-owned premises cannot be used for political activities by any party, including Harapan.
“This was decided at the state government meeting for the sake of the people’s harmony,” he said.
Faizal said certain parties had taken advantage by using government premises for political purposes.
“If it involves services or health, it is not political work, but if a prize presentation programme for outstanding students sees party flags being raised, leaders criticising the government, that is not allowed,” he said.
The state assembly sitting adjourned sine die today.