NATURAL Resources, Environment and Climate Change Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad has slammed caretaker Kedah menteri besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor for his failure to handle issues related to the rare earth elements (REE) theft in Sik.
The PKR vice president said up until today Sanusi has yet to respond to all the allegations made by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail regarding the illegal mining activities of non-radioactive rare earth elements (NR-REE).
“Instead, he claims that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and an Indonesian tycoon once visited Kedah to inspect the REE mining site before the 15th General Election (GE15),” he said in a statement, adding that Sanusi’s claims were an attempt to divert public attention away from the issue at hand.
“The main question is why did the Kedah State Development Corporation (MBI) pay a fine related to the REE theft issue if indeed neither the MBI nor the Menteri Besar had any information on this matter?
“It is well known that the land involved in this case belongs to MBI Kedah,” Nik Nazmi added.
According to the Setiawangsa MP, the initial case of illegal mining was discovered by the Kedah State Forestry Department and an investigation was initiated according to the National Forestry Act.
“The complete investigation report was referred to the Kedah state prosecution director and the company was fined RM130,000,” Nik Nazmi remarked.
“The investigation report was also referred to the Kedah Land and Mining Office (PTG) under the State Minerals Enactment and the company was fined RM500,000.
“Furthermore, based on the feedback from the Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, I confirm that access to the Forest Plantation Development area in Compartment 12, Bukit Enggang Forest Reserve requires passing through four security gates.
“My advice to Sanusi is to stop pointing fingers at others and first address all the allegations that have been made.”
On Monday night (July 31), Sanusi had alleged that Anwar had brought an Indonesian oil tycoon – whom he identified as prominent Indonesian investor Reza Chalid – to the state before the Parliament was dissolved last year for the purpose of applying to mine REE, to which Anwar had dismissed Sanusi’s assertions as nonsense.
The following day on Tuesday (Aug 1), Saifuddin produced a photograph of Sanusi with a man he identified as So Loi Fat, whom he claimed was one of two skilled workers brought in by Kedah MBI to mine REE.
Saifuddin also produced a letter purportedly signed by Kedah MBI CEO Sobri Osman.
Previously, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested Sobri and a female director of a company to assist in an investigation involving corruption amounting to more than RM13 mil, with the pair have since been released. – Aug 3, 2023