BALING: Caretaker Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has brushed off claims by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail that he had granted an access to enter Bukit Enggang Forest Reserve to the rare earth elements' (REE) thieves.
Sanusi, who is also Perikatan Nasional election director said only the state Forestry Department has the authority to issue a permit to enter forest reserve and that even he has to obtain approval from the department to enter the area.
"I wish to inform Pudin (Saifuddin), the approval to enter forest reserve can only be issued by the Forestry Department, not the menteri besar or the menteri besar's office, not even the District Office, (but) only the state Forestry Department," Sanusi said in his speech while campaigning for PN candidates in Kampung Lalang, Siong here yesterday.
It was reported recently that Saifuddin has questioned how the REE thieves had gained access to Compartment 12 of the Bukit Enggang Forest Reserve in Sik and gone past four guarded security check-points to pull the thefts.
Saifuddin was reported as saying that there was no way the thieves would have evaded the security checkpoints without an access by the Kedah Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI), of which Sanusi is the chairman.
Saifuddin, who is also Pakatan Harapan secretary-general had said he had visited the site, accompanied by Kedah police chief Datuk Fisol Salleh and concluded that the thefts proved Sanusi was incompetent and failed to monitor an agency under his watch.
Commenting further, Sanusi said he wouldn't have interfered in the state Forestry Department and other state agencies affairs, stressing everyone that the administration should be allowed to carry out their responsibility without interference.
"This is the good governance that we have practised for the past three years, the agencies do their work, the Exco members do their work, I did my job (as the menteri besar). We did not interfere in each other's jurisdiction," he said.