Deforestation plays role in flooding: Shahidan

Nik Imran Abdullah

KUALA LUMPUR: Excessive forest clearing in various states can be attributed to the destructive floods during the recent monsoon season, the Dewan Rakyat heard today.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said water flowed faster on the ground when it rained as there was no vegetation to slow it down.

"The forests are cleared by licensed and illegal loggers," he said during the question and answer session.

He was responding to a question from Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) who wanted to know the losses from damage to infrastructure as a result of disasters since 2006.

Shahidan said state governments should give more focus on preservation and rehabilitation of forests as it came under their jurisdiction.

He said the move not only could minimise the impact of floods but also maintain the quality of the environment.

He said preservation of forests would augur well for tourism as foreigners usually came to enjoy Malaysia's natural surroundings.

"Low felling of trees brings small revenue but forest preservation results in greater benefits for the states," he said.