Thursday, June 26, 2008

Logging in Kuala Muda, Kedah/ 森林贮水保护区伐木,吉打州政府逆民意而行


尽管朝野政要和人民群起反对吉打州政府在贮水区推行伐木计划,但州务大臣却无动于衷,一意孤行,让我对该大臣的做法感到惊讶和失望不已。

在从政事业初期,我的职务与环境及森林发展密不可分。我曾担任柔佛州环境委员会主席9年,同时兼任柔佛兴楼云冰(Endau Rompin)国家公园技术委员会主席长达12年。在任职期间,我感到最高兴和欣慰的是成功说服丹麦环境发展合作(DANCED)局,赞助600万令吉在兴楼云冰野林展开环境生态的教育和研究计划。此计划推行后,州政府也在2001年成功举办第2届兴楼云冰科学考察。这些促进湿地生态复育和研究发展的行动,最终引起国际社会组织的注意,更接纳我的申请,将丹绒比艾及蒲来河列为RAMSAR(注)国际重要湿地。

注:RAMSAR《拉姆萨湿地公约》是全球唯一针对单一生态系统保护的环境公约。该公约于1971年在伊朗小城拉姆萨尔举行的湿地保护研讨会议上,由30多个国家接纳和签署又称拉姆萨尔公约。公约的全名是《水禽栖息地的国际重要湿地公约》,它是一个政府间的公约,作为各国在湿地保护及其资源合理利用的准则和国际合作框架。目前已有147个成员国参与此计划。

出任这两主席职,让我真正了解、学习和珍惜自然环境和森林的重要价值。因此,当吉打州务大臣宣布将砍伐乌魯慕达河的森林保留地,我非常震惊。他显然不懂什么是森林管理,才会被误导做出如此决定。难道州务大臣不明白,林木是上帝的恩赐?
话说回来,要监督以直升机进行局部性伐木的活动有一定的困难,一不小心干扰了贮水区范围或将造成土地侵蚀和水源污染,问题非常严重。也许对大部分的政治人物而言,伐木是让州致富最快对容易的途径,可惜伐木活动往往因缺乏良好的监管而不能持久,也破坏森林的自然生态。

伐木工和森林管理员都很清楚,伐木活动开始前,必须在森林内辟建道路供载木罗里行驶,为了开辟这条道路就先要平白牺牲许多树木,不该伐的也被伐下,成为轮下凋材。而乌鲁慕达河的伐木计划,他们将建造约至少300公里长的道路,试想想多少林木被浪费,这是无法节制的大破坏啊!

做决定前,吉打州政府应该事先听取大马环境协会(MNS)和世界野生动物基金会(WWF)的意见。这两个非政府组织是环境生态事务的专家,它们的代表曾参与我主持的森林保护和发展会议,为我提供了许多宝贵的意见。要有效监督减缓森林破坏的措施确实知易行难,因此必须要认真地展开环境影响评估的研究和审查。只是此项评估工作非常学术性,无奈我国的森林和环境局正严缺这方面的专才。

早前,我不时听闻雪州民联政府非议和抨击前超州政府批准在斜坡展开建筑工程,这时候是否应该和吉打州政府的盟友进行沟通,劝劝盟友,让他们了解在贮水区伐木的后果?

也许雪州政府说了,只是吉打州政府充耳不闻?谁知道?
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I’m surprised and disappointed that despite the chorus of protest, the Kedah Menteri Besar is still adamant about logging the catchment area of Kuala Muda. I understand that this is the source of water for Penang island.

In the early part of my political career, I’ve always been closely associated with environment and forest development. I was the chairman of the Environment Committee in Johor for 9 years and also the chairman of the Technical Committee for Endau Rompin, Johor for 12 years. Hence, I can claim it was during this time that I managed to convince a team from DANCED (Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development) to finance an education and research project of RM6 million, deep in the jungle of Endau Rompin, an area that stretches to 45, 000 hectare on the Johor site. The second scientific expedition into Endau Rompin was also launched in the year 2001. I managed to get Tanjung Piai, the southern most tip of the continent of Asia and Sg. Pulai to be listed as the Ramsar site.

I must admit that it was during these years as chairman that I learn a lot to value the forest and the environment. Hence, I’m surprised when the MB of Kedah announced that he’s using helicopter logging which has never been tried in this country before and it is only suitable for a large forest area. He may known very little about forest management and hence ill advised. To the Kedah MB, it is God send money.

It is difficult to monitor selective logging through the helicopter. Any disruption in the catchment area will lead to erosion and pollution, often a disaster in the catchment area. Most politicians can only think of logging as revenue for the state since this is the easiest and fastest way of deriving revenue. Unfortunately, this is often unsustainable since monitoring and supervision is poor in the jungle. Loggers working hand in hand with the forestry officer are a well known fact that when they build track roads, trees which are not supposed to be chopped off will be chopped off. That’s where they derive most profits and in the case of Kuala Muda, they are supposed to do a track road of 300km. This will be to unmitigated disaster. The state government should get the advice of the Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for proper professional advice. These 2 NGOs used to sit in my committee in Johor for the development of forest area and I find their advice invaluable. EIA studies are often academic since it is difficult to supervise mitigating measure done in the jungle. The forestry and environment department are sadly lacking in manpower and expertise.

The PR state government of Selangor should be communicating with the PR government of Kedah since I’ve read a lot about the PR government of Selangor, criticizing the previous state government for allowing development on the slope in Selangor. Maybe they are in communication that I’m not aware off, or advice has fallen on deaf ears.

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