pic by BERNAMA
NO LOGGING activities have been done in Gunung Jerai, Kedah due to its status as a national geopark and it has also been gazetted as a forest reserve.
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan (picture) said the flash flood that took place in the area last month was “an act of God” and was not caused by any logging activities.
Takiyuddin, who is also Kota Baru MP, said Gunung Jerai is situated in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve spanning 106,000ha, of which 12,270ha or 12% of it are protected, while the remaining 88% can be logged.
“However, I have received confirmation from the Kedah government recently that only a total of 25,000ha of land were given license for logging activities in the Kedah Permanent Forest Reserve from 2014 until 2019, but none in the area of the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve.
“When I visited the area following the flash flood, I also saw that the trees that fell uprooted with the flash floods, which showed that no logging activities took place there. This is what I meant by it being an act of God,” he said during the Minister’s Question Time (MQT) in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim then interjected the minister and told him to not blame God when it comes to issues involving nature as the problems could also be caused by human errors.
Takiyuddin added that under the 12th Malaysia Plan, the Annual Felling Ration approved by the national land council stands at 188,550ha for five years from 2021 to 2025.
Meanwhile, during MQT, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri also said the government will hold discussions in the next coming days regarding interstate travel in the country.
She said her ministry has listed a few destinations that can be opened for tourism including Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands and other places not limited to islands.
“We will have a discussion in the next two or three days to allow interstate travel. If it is allowed, other people can enter the destinations.
“We have listed down several destinations, not just islands, including Genting Highlands, Fraser Hills, Cameron Highlands and other destinations that will attract tourists,” she said in a response to a supplementary question from Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
She added that the government had chosen Langkawi to initiate the travel bubble project due to its big population and also because the island has an international airport.
She said the government will allow international tourists to enter the country once it has outlined the criteria and necessary details required for international travellers.
“We would not be able to sustain if we only allow domestic travel. We will mull plans on opening international borders after we identify the criteria needed for international tourists and the pilot project will be done in Langkawi via a travel bubble,” she said without stating a timeline.
Separately, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun said a total of 4,422 students have lost either one of their parents or caretakers due to Covid-19.
She said the ministry is concerned over the welfare of these children and has outlined initiatives to assist them.
“Based on statistics from the Education Ministry, as of Sept 13, 4,422 students have lost either one of their parents or guardians due to Covid-19 and have become orphans.
“Meanwhile, 154 students had lost both parents to the pandemic. The ministry is taking necessary initiatives to support them,” she said in response to Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh who asked for data on children who were orphaned due to Covid-19.
Among the assistance include counselling services for the children and psychological intervention. The services are also extended to other family members.