Alleged Illegal Hill Cutting Activity in Penampang
PENAMPANG: Hill-cutting activities in the district â€“ many believed to be carried out illegally â€“ will soon come to the attention of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) if Terrence Siambun, the local lawmaker, has his way.
He reckons such activity, the cause of flash floods in the suburban district on several occasions this year alone, reeks of hanky-panky, as well as the 'tidakapathy' (could-not-care-less attitude) of civil servants, tasked with enforcing the laws.
Siambun also wondered why the hill-cutting activities, very noticeable to the residents as well as those who drive through, failed to gain the attention of those in authority.
"I wonder why the Chief Minister, as well as the State government through the District Officer and the Penampag District Council, chose to close one-eye to all these illegal activities despite it happening in the open" Siambun said in a statement.
"You can have a shop selling black-market lottery or untaxed Era Biru (contraband cigarettes) or a kedai kopi selling duty-free beer (where no tax was paid) but an activity as big as hill-cutting in a small district cannot go unnoticed.
"And if that is not enough, both the Member of Parliament for Penampang and myself have highlighted these hill-cutting activities many times, either in the press or State Assembly, because it has been the cause of flash floods all over the district.
"The State Government and the PDC opted to remain silent.â€
Siambun conceded that for the PDC to finally break its silence clearly vindicated them for what they have been complaining about all this while, but the question now is what the State government will do about it.
"As a start, we need to be sure that the so-called â€˜illegal hill-cutting activities' will not happen in the future and whatever is going on currently, must cease. I also want the MACC to open an investigation on the possible element of corruption in this issue" he said.
The Moyog lawmaker and treasurer of Parti Warisan Sabah also said there should be no more hiding on the part of the State government and its agent, the PDC.
He said the MACC must investigate whether there are any elements of corruption in the case of a duck farm operator at Kampung Togudon who brazenly continues his operation despite being fined by the Environmental Department, had his machinery seized by the Land and Survey Department, as well as facing a civil suit to be taken by a group of elite citizens from Penampang.
"How could he continue to operate the farm at that place; is he being protected by anyone at a higher level to be unperturbed with the law" queried Siambun.