Anwar’s swift action is crucial for Pakatan’s future in Selangor

Letter to editor

THE outburst of Dusun Tua assemblyperson Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof (min pic left) against a Selangor state exco within the ruling coalition could not have happened overnight.

Unless this issue is addressed immediately by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the coalition runs into the risk of losing Selangor to the “Green Wave.”

This will be to the chagrin of urban supporters who vow that Islamist party PAS should not be allowed to rule the nation. Above all else, losing Selangor would not go down well with Anwar’s unity government which now has the support of UMNO.

Pic credit: Bernama

Risk of losing Selangor is very real

PH will be ending its third term in Selangor soon – but unlike its counterpart in Penang – it has failed to deliver the quality of services that is expected of the local government under its control.

Anwar realised this when he set up the Local Government and Development Ministry. In Selangor, however, the current state government may have to be replaced with younger and more altruistic leaders before the next state election.

The current batch of state exco including its Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari no longer pay heed to the rumblings on the ground but instead, chiding fellow state assemblymen for being a “loose cannon.”

What may originally begin as courteous exchanges between members of the public and a member of the state exco, for example, may soon turn into legal battles with one non-governmental organisation (NGO) already suing the state government over the long-standing Bukit Cherakah issue.

Several letters through its solicitors seeking to meet with the Selangor State Government to understand the legal status of Bukit Cherakah forest reserve, for example, failed to receive any response.

Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari (Pic credit: The Star)

Amirudin had promised to provide a clarification on the Bukit Cherakah issue within a week from September 11 last year, but he has failed to do so till today. “Till now, we are still waiting for his explanation,” noted the Shah Alam Community Forest Society honorary treasurer Dr Lim Teck Wyn.

This whole controversy revolves around five companies that were given over 600 hectares of forest reserve in Bukit Cherakah. Two of the companies include Perbadanan Kerajaan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) and Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB), of which Amiruddin is chairman. The other companies have paid-up capital of RM2 when they were awarded the land.

Major devastation in the pipeline

Amirudin has a history of de-gazetting forest reserve land and he had courted controversy. In 2020 when the Selangor State Forestry Department (JPNS) announced the state government’s intention to de-gazette the majority of the Kuala Langat North Forest Reserve (KLNFR), Amirudin received brickbats from all over the country.

In the same incident, Anwar as PKR president had instructed Amirudin to cancel the de-gazettement of the KLNFR which Amirudin failed to comply. The Selangor state assembly had rejected Amirudin’s proposal to de-gazette the forests.

So, Edry’s sudden outburst is understandable. It is not surprising that the 37-year-old first-term state assemblyman who joined DAP since 2012, may have tried to engage with his fellow assemblyman to work out an amicable solution before taking it to the public domain.

In a Twitter post, Edry lambasted Selangor Tourism, Environment, Green Technology, and Orang Asli Affairs committee chairperson Hee Loy Sian openly, accusing him as being “unfair” in the way he handles the diversion of over a hundred 30-tonne load lorries which will be plying the Hulu Langat road on a daily basis.

Since Edry’s voice represents the genuine concerns felt by his constituents, silencing Edry would not do because his position would be jeopardised if he did not bring out the issue into the public domain.

Currently, there are only four quarries that are operating in Hulu Langat, but the moment the other quarries on 24 to 27 plots of land on Bukit Lagong are operational, the damage to the environment and the livelihood of people living in the area would be affected.

Selangor faces more issues with Bukit Lagong

The Bukit Lagong issue is a time bomb sitting in Selangor due to the way both Amirudin and Hee handled the issues.

On October 30 last year, Selayang MP William Leong who is also the PKR treasurer, had openly told Amirudin not to use “technicalities and disingenuous arguments” to avoid public scrutiny when dealing with the Bukit Lagong quarry licenses.

According to Leong, Hee had also irked NGOs and the public when he failed to address their concerns on Bukit Lagong quarry operations comprehensively. Leong’s demand for an explanation before the last general election was not heeded by Amirudin.

The same issue has also forced former Otai Reformis and PKR loyalist, Abdul Razak Ismail, to start a Green Party to contest in the coming state election which eventually led to his sacking by PKR recently.

For the record, Abdul Razak had earlier written to the state government under the Freedom of Information Act to seekfor information about the quarry licenses but was left disappointed when he was told that the file is under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

He later discovered that the licenses were issued to shell companies with paid-up capital as low as RM2, RM3, RM25 and RM100. The licenses were also issued to the Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) and Cooperative of the Forestry Department, among others. Two of former Menteri Besar Azmin Ali’s aides were also identified as the directors in the companies that were issued the licenses.

It is also not uncommon for politicians seeking protection from the royal family to also offer some of the licenses to companies that may eventually drag certain members of the royal family into their own controversies.

Meanwhile, Abdul Razak’s complaint against the Menteri Besar has been transferred from MACC Selangor to Putrajaya. – Jan 17, 2023


Stephen Ng
Kuala Lumpur

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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