The other item that caught my eye was a very depressing news item. It was an announcement by the Chief Minister of the new Kedah state government, Azizan Abdul Razak, that it had decided to start logging the Pedu, Muda and Ahning water catchment areas in order to raise RM16 billion in revenue for the state’s coffers. He said the logging was necessary to cover increased expenditures caused by the recent increases in petrol prices, because the federal government had not delivered RM100 million in compensation for agreeing not to log the areas when the previous state government was in power.
What a short sighted decision.
He is in effect saying if you don’t compensate us, we’ll cut down all the trees to make lots of money for ourselves, and damn the environmental impact on Kedah and neighbouring states like Pahang and Penang that draw their water from the same catchment areas.
Azizan Abdul Razak is 68 years old, so by the time the adverse environmental impacts – such as pollution of the water supply and less rainfall over the catchment areas - start becoming apparent in about five years time, he will no doubt be retired and the problems will be someone else’s concern.
That is not only short sighted but irresponsible and contemptuous of the rights of future generations.
The announcement represents the first major decision affecting the environment made by the new PAS-led state government since it came to power in March.
There has been so much corruption exposed (like commissions going into the pockets of politicians) in states controlled by the Barisan Nasional in respect of the granting of logging concessions, this decision in Kedah does not suggest that the newly-led opposition states are going to demonstrate a better record.