IPOH, Feb 8 — Protests against logging activities near Kampung Orang Asli Cenux in Gerik will only hurt the timber industry, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said today.
He urged protestors to reconsider their actions, as the timber industry needs adequate resources which can only be obtained via logging.
“We have problems getting timber resources for the wood industry, which involves lots of factory work. So, I hope the parties who want to halt this effort should think further than that,” he told reporters after attending the Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCCI) at Weil Hotel here.
Ahmad Faizal also said that the trees, which were felled, were not on the land that was gazetted as Orang Asli ancestral land, contrary to what has been alleged.
“I haven’t visited the site, but I stand with the statement issued by the State Forestry Department director Datuk Mohamed Zin Yusop, who had said that the logging was conducted in a sustainable manner, as only trees that were tagged were cut,” he said.
Mohamed Zin had on Wednesday said that the logging activities were only approved in the area of the Air Chepam Forest Reserve and not in the Orang Asli ancestral land as claimed by the community.
“Perak also follows the annual cut ration (catuan tebang tahunan), which was set by the National Land Council, which is about 7,744ha, by practising selective logging. Only trees which meet the standard are allowed to be cut after going through the tagging process,” said Mohamed Zin.
Mohamed Zin also denied that the department had threatened the Orang Asli community in Kampung Cunex over the blockade created by them to prevent further logging.
It was reported that the Orang Asli community in Kampung Cunex was threatened by Forestry Department officers after creating a blockade to prevent logging activity from destroying 80ha of land, which also involves their ancestral land and settlements.
The Orang Asli community lodged a police report on February 1 over claims that they were intimidated by the Forestry Department officers.