The Kedah government is allocating RM24.42 million to the State Forestry Department to improve its management, redevelopment of forest reserve areas and upgrade facilities in forest recreational areas.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Mahathir said such measures had to be taken following the government’s decision to cease logging activities in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve, which resulted in a drop in the state’s revenue.
“The state government has applied for contribution from the federal government for the loss of revenue and plans to widen the water catchment area in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve,” he said when tabling the State Budget at the State Assembly sitting here today.
He said the state government proposed an additional 33,893.6 hectares, which would bring the total water catchment area in the Ulu Muda Forest Reserve to 50,122.3 hectares.
Apart from that, the menteri besar said the state government would also gazette an area covering 8,190.8 hectares in the Bukit Saiong Forest Reserve in Sik as a water catchment area.
Meanwhile, on efforts to encourage the use of solar-generated power, Mukhriz said the state government would allow companies to set up solar farms on agricultural land without having to change the land status.
“To date, several private companies have been operating solar farms in Kuala Ketil, Bukit Selambau, Pendang, Sik, Gurun, Sungai Petani and Pokok Sena, generating more than 200 megawatts of solar power.
“This proves the government’s seriousness to ensure the sustainability of the environment while reducing carbon emissions in the atmosphere," he added.