The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) strongly condemn the irresponsible statement by Datuk Fuad Hassan, Director General of JASA (Jabatan Hal Ehwal Khas/ Department of Special Affairs) that he suspects we have an understanding with those who want to see that the Barisan Nasional Government be brought down. The allegation is baseless and highly defamatory.
His accusation that we have not criticized the Kedah State Government led by PAS for logging activities in Tasik Pedu and Gunung Inas but politicized everything involving the Federal Government is baseless and only exposes his ignorance and desperation.
He has no right to accuse us who have been fighting for social and environmental justice, of being not patriotic and serving the agenda of foreign NGOs.
CAP and SAM are grassroots, non-profit, non-governmental organization and since inception have been apolitical in fighting for community rights and environmental justice.
We hereby state that in the field of environmental protection, CAP and SAM are fearless advocates of the people’s right to a healthy environment. We have championed the interest of citizens and communities against pollution and unsustainable use and management of land and other natural resources in all states in Malaysia. We do not select which issues to act on based on political affiliation or leadership of a state.
We assist communities that have been or likely to be adversely affected by development projects or extraction and exploitation of natural resources. It does not matter whether the communities or the issues are in a State led by the ruling or opposition party.
On the issue of logging in Kedah, even as recent as 31 January 2013, CAP and SAM held a press conference with the Friends of Ulu Muda coalition to highlight logging in Ulu Muda Forest Reserve, an important water catchment forest. Over the years, CAP has also been writing letters to the relevant authorities and issued press statements regarding forest destruction in Gunung Raya in Langkawi; Rimba Teloi in Sik; Bukit Perak in Pendang; Gunung Bongsu in Kulim; Gunung Inas and Pedu.
Besides logging issues, CAP and SAM have been critical over genetic engineering, nuclear energy, development of dams, incinerators, mega road projects such as the Penang Outer Ring Road, Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road, the shelved Highlands Highway project on the Main Range, etc.
We have also taken the Penang State Government to task for approval of hill development projects as well as the proposed projects which include an underwater tunnel linking Gurney Drive and Bagan Ajam; three highways – a bypass connecting Gurney Drive to the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, a link between Bandar Baru Air Itam to the same expressway and a dual-link road connecting Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang which would have serious environmental impacts.
There are hundreds of communities that we have assisted and we have fought many destructive technologies and development projects. None of these are done because we were directed by any political party or funder. We are impartial in opposing the abuse of power and will keep on fighting injustice.
Datuk Fuad Hassan’s statement constitutes a very serious libel on CAP and SAM and we are referring the matter to our lawyers for taking necessary action.
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS