Kelantan’s answer to carbon-deal critics is to deny it is collecting funds for it

THE Kelantan government today refused to address any of the point raised by critics against the state’s carbon-offset deal, which is handled by Climate Protector Sdn Bhd, linked to a company which appears on Bank Negara’s watch list.

Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob instead denied allegations on social media that the state had instructed companies, including Climate Protector, to collect funds to finance its carbon trading project.

“The state government wishes to advise those who have made payments to lodge police reports so that investigations can be carried out by the authorities,” he said today.

Kelantan signed a two-year contract with Climate Protectors to audit carbon credits available in the its permanent forest reserves.

Ahmad was reportedly saying by media earlier this year that Climate Protectors will be rewarded with a 30-year concession to work on the state’s 396,000ha of permanent forest reserve.

On June 26, he said the carbon trading project was official despite Bank Negara Malaysia’s warning days earlier.

Environment group Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urged the Kelantan government to respond to BNM’s warning and clarify the claims which appear on EcoBit’s website. 

The group found out that Climate Protectors’ CEO Tang Too Siah is also a board adviser of EcoBit, a cryptocurrency-based investment company. 

SAM said EcoBit has been misleading the public by promoting the Kelantan forest carbon-offset project, signed in January, as “the world’s largest REDD+ forest preservation project” with an award emissions avoidance capacity of more than 800 million tonnes.

REDD-plus is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, a United Nations initiative to reduce emissions from the forestry sector. 

Ahmad said today the next phase of the project depended on the outcome of a two-year study and Climate Protectors’ ability to handle the project. 

He added that the state government will also consult third parties, such as financial institutions, on the procedure and process of the business to ensure its legality.

“This includes discussions with any institution or country that has implemented or is currently implementing the REDD project. The state government will also take into consideration views of the natural resources and environment minister on this matter,” he said. 

Both Climate Protector and EcoBit are listed on BNM’s Financial Consumer Alert service on June 23, as “companies and websites which are neither authorised nor approved under the relevant laws and regulations administered by BNM”.

Tang told The Malaysian Insight that he did not know why Climate Protector was red-flagged by BNM, saying a meeting with the central bank is being arranged.  – July 5, 2017.

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