The mudflow in Gunung Jerai, Kedah, last month which left three dead after an upstream rush of water in several locations around the area was an act of God, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Takiyuddin Hassan said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
“We are greatly saddened by the occurrence of the disaster (at Gunung Jerai). This was an act of God,” he said when answering a supplementary question by Sabri Azit (PAS-Jerai) about efforts by his ministry to preserve the forest area along the summit of Gunung Jerai.
However, Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) objected to his statement.
“Don’t blame God for environmental problems,” Anwar said. “Sometimes this is the fault of humans. How do you say ‘act of God’ when greedy humans are the ones who cut down the trees?”
But Takiyuddin replied that Gunung Jerai had been declared a national geopark in 2018, in conjunction with the coronation of the current sultan of Kedah.
“Given its status, logging activities are not carried out in that area,” he said.
“I myself saw the trees that were carried down by the water with their roots intact, proving that there is no logging going on in the Jerai area. This is what is called an act of God,” he added.
Takiyuddin also said the government had set aside RM75 million for restoration efforts in the forest there.
Several villages were badly hit by floods following an upstream rush of water at the foothills of Gunung Jerai on Aug 18.