Encroachment into Mulu National Park fake news — Assistant Minister

Len Talif speaking to reporters.

By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, Feb 22: Assistant Minister for Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datuk Len Talif Salleh denies there were any wrongdoings on the part of the plantation company accused of deforesting some 4,000 hectares near Mulu National Park.

He said the company did not encroach into the national park and had been going about their business all these years according to the law.

Len Talif was responding to reporters who asked about claims by a non-governmental organisation, Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), who accused the oil palm plantation company of deforesting part of Mulu National Park, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

“No matter how much you explain, they will not accept it. As simple as that. They are in that business. The more you spin, the better. The area in question is actually outside the Mulu National Park.

“I’m the Assistant Minister of Environment, come on. I wouldn’t allow that (encroaching into a Unesco Heritage Site). This is outside the park and has been there for a long time. Why all of a sudden (this issue) being spun?”

Yesterday, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, in a statement, expressed concern over the deforestation issue.

Noting that this is a World Heritage site and that the development was being disputed by the indigenous people, Kok said she had contacted Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas to share her concern.

“As land is a state matter, I am counting upon the state government to take the appropriate measures to resolve the matter in the interest of the state, the indigenous people and our national sustainability agenda,” she said. — DayakDaily