Pahang government committed to preserving green environment

KUANTAN: Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said nearly 58% of the 3.59 million hectares of land in Pahang was still covered with forests.

He said the situation clearly demonstrated that despite the demands of rapid development and lack of financial resources, the state government was still able to maintain a high ratio of the state's natural treasures and greenery.

Adnan said the initiative enabled forest areas which harboured a variety of flora and fauna to continue to be preserved, as it was an important source of water for major rivers in the state.

"Since I was appointed mentri besar 17 years ago, I myself have taken the initiative to gazette more than 300,000 forest areas as water catchment areas, and it clearly shows the commitment of the state government in this regard," he said.

He was speaking to reporters after delivering a keynote address at a workshop on 'Sustainable Water Resources in Pahang' here today, which was also attended by state Basic Facilities and Environment Committee chairman, Datuk Seri Mohd Soffi Abd Razak.

Adnan said the forestry policy and existing laws were enough to protect the state's natural resources from being indiscriminately exploited. However, he did not deny that weaknesses in enforcement caused the parties concerned to fail to abide by the rules.

"Before giving approvals (for logging) we take into account several factors by imposing various conditions to be met, including the need to create buffer zones. However, they (the terms) are just left on paper.

"Therefore, the relevant departments should be more proactive in this regard (enforcement) and go to the ground to ensure that the conditions to create buffer zones are complied with and that the contractors also adhere to the conditions set," he said.

At the same time, Adnan also hoped that the federal government would provide a special allocation to the state government to conserve the state's forests, as these forests are also a major source of water supply to neighbouring states.

More than 1,000 participants from various government agencies and non-governmental organisations, academicians and scholars joined the two-day workshop organised by the state government.

Adnan said the workshop was held to get input from various parties to find the best method to ensure Pahang's water resources remained sustainable. — Bernama