Media Statement by YB Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham, dated on 28/12/2012.
- Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd not involved in any timber logging. Berita Harian involved in reporting false news.
- Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd involved only in reforestation to ensure future sufficient sustainable supply of timber. Project encouraged and supported by the Federal Government and Kelantan State Government
- The land concern does not have any orang Asli settlement
- Dato’ Ngeh Koo Ham has been transparent. Dato’ Seri Zambry Bin Abdul Kadir must explain the approval of state lands worth Billions of ringgit to BN’s cronies.
1.Berita Harian report false news
Berita Harian yesterday (27/12/2012) maliciously reported that Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd was involved in timber logging since April this year on the piece of land which the company is involved in a reforestation program. The report was a total lie. The picture showing timber logs gathered to be taken out is not from the land that Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd is doing the reforestation. The front page picture is also probably taken from another place.
I would like to emphasise that Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd has not taken out any single log from the land it has undertaken to do reforestation since some investors and I took over the company in April this year. Until today neither the management of Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd nor I receive any complaint from any party concerning any pollution caused by the works carried out by them. The land has been cleared of timber many years ago by other parties when the Federal Government and the State Government agreed to the reforestation programs using latex timber clone trees about 15 years ago.
The new investors are here to help in reforestation. We are here to help produce sufficient sustainable timber supply for the future so that no further virgin jungle need to be cleared to supply us with timber.
The said piece of land is a forest reserve. There are many types of forest reserve. In most permanent forest reserve you can harvest trees more than 45-85 cm (depending on specie) in diameter and those smaller ones will be left to grow in size. Those trees that are harvested will have to be replanted with young seedlings. For example, the Perak State Government practice sustainable forestry management and not more than 8,000 hectares of permanent forest reserve (as determined by the Federal Forestry Policy) will be harvested every year. The same area will be harvested every 30 years when the smaller trees have grown up. Some people have the wrong idea that no tree may be chopped down in a forest reserve in which event we would not have timber to build our houses and make our furnitures.
2.Reforestation project carried out by Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd beneficial to the nation
The Federal Government and the Kelantan Government took a different approach for the piece of land that has been approved to Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd for reforestation. In the past reforestation was always done by the State or Federal Government using public funds through the Forestry Department. The Federal and State Governments subsequently encouraged the private sector to participate but the respond was poor as you have to wait for 20-40 years (depending on plant specie) before you can have your first harvest. Most investors would end up bankrupts before they can see the fruit of their labour.
The Federal and State Governments encourage reforestation programs for future timber supply because our furniture export is about RM8.0 billion a year. The Federal Government has also allocated soft loans for such reforestation programs.
In encouraging the private sector to be involved in reforestation, a new approached has been taken i.e to plant latex timeber clone (LTC) trees so that the investors may have income from the rubber trees while waiting for the trees to grow up to become timber logs.
Apart from the Kelantan Government, the project undertaken by Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd was supported by the then Plantation Industries and Commodities Industries Minister, Dato’ Peter Chin Fah Kui and the then Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development Dato’ Awang Adek Hussin.
Two past attempts to carry out the reforestation on the said land have failed. The new investors and I hope to succeed. Our investment and endeavour is beneficial to the country and we look forward to the support of everyone.
Many people have asked if the said reforestation affect the livelihood of any Orang Aslis. I would like to state that there is no Orang Asli on the said land.
I am a strong advocate of the welfare of the Orang Aslis.
I have encouraged the Kelantan Government to gazette all Orang Asli settlements so that no development will affect their livelihoods.
The PR Perak Government which I was a part of, in recognition of the rights of the Orang Aslis had initiated the gazetting/alienating of 82,500 acres (33,386 hectares) of land for the estimated 10,000 Orang Asli families in Perak (8.25 acres per family). I am glad that the Perak BN Government continued our said decision by gazetting recently about 11,000 hectares for the Orang Asli. I hope the balance about 22,000 hectares will be also be allocated to the Orang Aslis and not to outsiders.
4.BN Perak Government must explain why lands worth billions of ringgit were alienated to cronies
I have been transparent and have explained all questions raised with regard to Upayapadu Plantation Sdn Bhd. I believe BN raised it to divert the people’s attention from the billions of ringgit land scandals that I have raised at the State Assembly. Now that I have explained I challenged Dato’ Seri Zambry Bin Abdul Kadir to explain the accusations raised against him and his Government.
Dated this 28th day of December 2012.
YB DATO’ NGEH KOO HAM
MP for Beruas &
State Assemblyman for Sitiawan