A MINISTER has accused the Pahang state forestry department (JPNP) of being in denial and for not being entirely honest about what happened that had caused the floods in Pahang recently.
According to Penang deputy chief minister II Prof P Ramasamy, JPNP has denied that illegal logging was the cause of the floods, while aerial checks through the use of drones had apparently found no illegal logging sites.
“I am not disputing JPNP about how continuous rain for three days had added to the volume and intensity of the floods,” he remarked.
“But I saw for myself that at Sri Telemong Bridge it wasn’t just wood waste or debris but uprooted trees and leftover or abandoned timber.
“So JPNP cannot dismiss that the flood waters that brought materials from the upper stretches of the river were just debris or wood waste.”
JPNP checks at Jalan Bentong-Karak and Sri Telemong Bridge had previously indicated that it was wood waste on the road and bridge.
Ramasamy went on to recount how his recent visit to the flood-affected areas in and around Karak and Bentong in Pahang clearly indicated that the rivers in both areas were unable to hold the flood waters, causing massive devastation.
“A frightening aspect of the flow of the water was the massive amount of debris – uprooted trees, bushes and leftover timber from the logging areas.
“At the Sri Telemong Bridge, it was abundantly clear that the years of logging and other forms of deforestation was the main cause of the floods with the vegetation in the jungle being unable to absorb the water, which led to the bursting of the banks of the rivers and their tributaries,” he pointed out.
He also mentioned that local residents had also spoken of the ferocious flood water that had carried huge logs “as if they were torpedoes”, and this would probably explain why some homes along the Bentong River were flattened as they were smashed by the logs.
“I was not talking about illegal logging but legal ones that took place in the upper stretches of the rivers. I am not sure why the JPNP was quick to deny about the existence of illegal logging,” he commented.
“I was also told that many areas in the forest ares of Bentong and Karak have been illegally cleared by settlers. I am not sure whether JPNP is aware of this.
“Drones are useful if the areas are not accessible especially during the floods – I understand this, but surely JPNP must have information about logging, both legal and illegal.
“Is the department going to take action against those involved in the felling of the trees that might contributed to the floods.”
Rather than engaging in a thorough investigation, Ramasamy said that JPNP is merely denying the existence of illegal logging in the vicinity.
“The Pahang state government must seriously address the issue of the recent massive floods and should direct its departments to investigate those companies involved the massive logging enterprise in the state.
“Unless something is done, future floods would be much more devastating.” – Dec 31, 2021