Last week when I posted a message criticizing Kedah's decision to allow logging at the state's water catchment areas, a few readers criticized my stand. Since then, a few PR leaders including CMs Lim Guang Eng and Nik Aziz have voiced out their concern over the decision. Lim said the action will be catastrophic to the environment and threaten the state's source of drinking water.
At the prime news yesterday, Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak is defiant about cutting trees in the Ulu Muda forest reserve.
He told NST, "Now, even if the Federal Government gives us the RM100 million compensation, we will still cut down the trees," he said. First, he justified by saying that it was because of the RM100 million. Now he said regardless of the payment the state will go ahead to cut trees.
Azizan told his critics that they should not be too obsessed with caring for the environment "like parents who are extremely obsessed with their offspring".
"The child is so pampered that he does not need to go to school. The child does not want to leave home."This is like our forest. We are too obsessed with preserving the trees that we don't cut them. We leave the trees till they get old and rot. The trees die and fall and affect the growth of others."
First, the analogy was done in a bad taste. It is not about being obsessed over our children. Human beings committed mistakes and we can still send them for corrective courses. Not the environment.
The most important thing here is about enforcement. Many states, including Perak, Selangor and Pahang, despite tough laws are not able to ward off illegal logging activities at their forest reserves.
Can Kedah ensure that these companies given license to log will abide by strict rules and regulations? Can the government ensure that no damage will be done to the environment and the catchment areas?
Roads will have to be built to bring out the logs. This will entail clearing of forest. Destruction to young trees is inevitable.
Azizan is a recalcitrant. State PR leaders who are against the move should consider calling a no-confidence vote against Azizan for risking our environment and important sources of fresh water to millions.
For those critics who are sentimental towards the move, I urge to use your head and not let your heart rule your judgement.