by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, July 2,1991:
DAP calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the multi-million ringgit illegal logging at the Ampang forest reserve and water catchment in Selangor
The Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Haji Muhammad Haji Muhammad Talib, said yesterday that it was impossible for state forestry staff not to be aware of illegal logging at a water catchment in the Ampang forest reserve.
He said he believed there were malpractices in the Forestry Department and alleged that forestry officers were either negligent or had co-operated with the ‘thieves’ responsible for the illegal logging worth millions of ringgit.
The Malaysian public fully agree with the Mentri Besar, but they have the added question: Is it possible for the illegal logging of the Ampang forest reserve to take place for so long and in so extensive an area without the Selangor Mentri Besar or important Selangor state leaders being in the know?
The Selangor Mentri Besar should realise that in the Ampang illegal logging scandal, it is not only the credibility and integrity of state forestry officials which are at stake, the credibility and integrity of the Selangor Mentri Besar and top state leaders are also at stake!
For this reason, it is totally unacceptable that the State Government should be holding an inquiry into the Ampang illegal logging scandal.
What is needed is a fully independent inquiry into the Ampang illegal logging scandal, with full liberty and powers to investigate the full extent of the involvement of anyone in the scandal, regardless of rank and office, even if the investigation should lead all the way to the Mentri Besar’s office.
In view of the seriousness of the scandal, the DAP calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Ampang logging scandal.
The Selangor Mentri Besar has himself said that there are illegal logging in other parts of Selangor, like Hulu Langat.
The Director-General of the Forestry Department, Datuk Mohamed Darus Mahmud, said in Kangar yesterday that there were “some black sheep in the department and it would be helpless if these people were not removed.”
Datuk Mohamed Darus said that illegal logging in the Ampang forest reserves would not have happened if certain officers had been more responsible in discharging their duties.
It is also clear from Datuk Mohamed Darus’s statement that illegal logging is prevalent in the country.
As this is a problem which is nation-wide, overlapping Federal and State governments, the DAP suggests that the Royal Commission that should be set up should not be confined to the Ampang illegal logging scandal, but should have the widest terms of reference, which should include the following:
(i) to inquire into the Ampang illegal logging scandal, the total losses suffered by the State, the persons responsible for this theft of public property, and the people in the state forestry department and the State Government implicated in the illegal logging;
(ii) to inquire into illegal logging in other parts of Selangor;
(iii) to inquire into the illegal logging in the other states in Malaysia; and
(iv) to inquire into the ‘black sheep’ in the Forestry Department as publicly alleged by the Forestry Director-General himself.
As forestry comes directly under the Primary Industry Ministry, the Minister for Primary Industries, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik should secure Cabinet approval for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Ampang illegal logging scandal, other illegal logging scandals throughout the country as well as the ‘black sheep’ in his Ministry!