Posted by: ulumuda | August 11, 2008

Padi farmers protest MB’s logging threat (NST-20 Jun 08)

Noor Adzman Baharuddin

ALOR STAR: Some 63,000 padi farmers in Kedah and Perlis are angry with Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak for his decision to log timber in water catchment areas in Kedah.

Their spokesman, Ahmad Radin, described the decision announced by Azizan on Wednesday as “an attempt to kill off our livelihood”.

“The trees are there to help retain water in the ground.

“If you remove them, there will be no more water for our padi fields and everyone knows this.

“We are talking about the livelihood of more than 63,000 farmers and this does not include their families and children,” he said when asked to comment on Azizan’s announcement that the Pas-led state government would log timber, valued at about RM16 billion, in water catchment areas in Kedah if the Federal Government does not compensate the loss of revenue for maintaining them.

Azizan claimed the Federal Government had ignored the state’s request for RM100 million in compensation on numerous occasions and that logging permits would be issued soon.

He said for many years Kedah had never been compensated for providing raw water for irrigation, industrial and domestic uses to Penang and Perlis.

Ahmad, who is also chairman of the coordinating committee for area farmers’ organisation under the Muda Agricultural Development Authority, said most of the farmers only learnt about the matter yesterday after reading it in the newspapers .

“I chaired a meeting with all the 27 area farmers’ organisations from Kedah and Perlis and we discussed Azizan’s announcement.

“He had gone back on his word about settling any problem with the Federal Government through discussions.

“I remembered him saying so only a few days after he was appointed Kedah Menteri Besar.”

He said Azizan or his representatives should have held discussions with the padi farmers before making the decision.

“We are talking about the livelihood and future of many people but our views were not sought before they made the decision.

“We are very upset and disappointed with Azizan.”

He said Azizan should not hold the Federal Government to ransom but resolve the matter through discussion.

“It appears he is trying to pelingkopkan kita (destroy us) while getting even with the Federal Government.”

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