A company that has held a logging concession in Pahang for four decades is now taking the state government and Forestry Department to court to seek more jungle land to perform its activities.
In a suit filed on December 27, around a week after floods devastated parts of Pahang, logging company Upayapadu (M) Sdn Bhd stated that parts of forest land approved for logging by the state Forestry Department could not be logged as it is located in the vicinity of rivers.
Forest areas near rivers are not allowed to be logged as they are considered buffer zones.
“Around 15% to 20% of the forest land approved are affected by the rivers, resulting in the area not having enough acres,” the statement of claim by Upayapadu read.
Nevertheless, Upayapadu claims that the Pahang Forestry Department has agreed to award the company land to replace those affected by buffer zones.
Upayapadu contends it is the duty of the state Forestry Department to grant replacement tracts of land, which are the right of the company as logging was approved and premiums paid.
In 2007, the state government via the Forestry Department agreed to award Upayapadu replacement land for the areas affected by buffer zones.
“The approvals were to replace the areas in buffer zones allocated to the plaintiff (Upayapadu) and were supposed to begin in 2005,” the statement of claim added.
The Pahang government approved over 2,000ha of land up until 2013.
After logging works in 2014 and 2015, in which Upayapadu logged over 3,900ha of land, it found another 628ha in buffer zones that could not be worked on.
To claim more replacement land, Upayapadu in 2016 and 2020 sent letters to the Pahang Forestry Department with its demands for an additional 624.43ha, but received no reply.
Upayapadu sent a letter last March, to which the Pahang Forestry Department replied with a letter to the company in May denying its request.
“The plaintiff was shocked with the contents of the May letter, because Upayapadu believes that the receipt of replacement land to replace the buffer zones is a right of the company based on an approval obtained in January 2007, and it is the duty of the state government and Forestry Department to replace it,” the statement of claim added.
Last October, Upayapadu sent a letter of demand to the state government and Forestry Department to claim its total 1,252ha of replacement forests, and again received a denial causing the company to label both parties as acting in bad faith.
It also claims that it lost the opportunity to reap revenue from logging estimated at RM79,968,340.
Upayapadu now seeks a declaration that it has a right to 1,252.43ha of replacement land or alternatively damages valued at RM79,968,340.
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