Lawmakers Rafizi Ramli and Fuziah Salleh want answers from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak who is also the MP for Pekan on purported invasions of forest reserves in the constituency.
Rafizi said he was approached by a whistleblower who had shown a map obtained from satellite pictures which was subsequently matched with a map from the Forestry Department as well as information on land which had been gazetted.
“The whistleblower shared the mismatch on what is claimed to be forest reserve on paper with the actual situation on the ground,” said Rafizi in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
The Pandan MP is however confident of the veracity of the map as he had verified the map with maps obtained from acquaintances from the logging industry.
“I am confident that this map is genuine even if it is not accurate to the dot as to what the Forestry Department has, it definitely shows a fair view.
“The map can be used to ascertain whether the claim of invasion of forest reserves is happening or not,” he added.
Based on information from the Pahang Forestry Department, eight forest reserves which have been gazetted in Pekan include Kedondong, Pekan, Pekan (Tambahan), Sungai Miang (Paya Laut), Bebar (Paya Laut), Nenasi, Resak and Resak (Tambahan).
According to the map, the purported deforestation had affected 4,829 hectares worth of land.
“I am waiting for Najib's feedback on the matter as this is happening in his own constituency,” he said.
The lawmaker claimed that he also has information on the same matter on other areas in Pahang. This will be revealed one by one in future exposes, he confirmed.
He will also continue to investigate to determine the real perpetrators in this issue.
“I’m sure there are people from the inside who are involved in this and the ones who have to pay are the rakyat.
“It is the responsibility of MPs like Najib and I to take care of people’s heritage.
“The fact that this is happening in his own backyard raises questions whether he cares about such issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fuziah said what was seen on the map was just the tip of the iceberg on what was happening throughout the country.
“I’ve struggled with environmental issues since I first started becoming MP,” she added.
Urging Najib to respond to the matter as it was his constituents who were suffering, Fuziah said among the effects of deforestation were floods.
“This can affect the quality of our drinking water,” she pointed out.
Meanwhile, asked to respond on the matter, an official from the Pahang Forestry Department said the department was verifying the claims.- Mkini