Singapore to look into Sabah’s carbon deal

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Loretto (second left) with  Gopala (second right) as well as the High Commission’s First Secretary, Warran Kalasegaran (right) and Terrence at the Singapore High Commission on March 3.

KOTA KINABALU (March 7): Parti Warisan has lodged an official complaint with the Singapore government on Hoch Standard Pte Ltd, the Singapore-based company involved in a highly controversial Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA) on carbon trading in Sabah.

Secretary-general of Warisan, Datuk Loretto Padua and treasurer-general, Terrence Siambun called on High Commissioner of Singapore in Malaysia, Vanu Gopala Menon last week to express the party’s indignation at claims made by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan that Hoch Standard was backed by multi-billion private equity funding institutions and even had the support of the Singapore government’s Temasek Holdings Ltd.

Loretto said the High Commissioner informed that the Singapore government is not involved in the NCA.
“The Singapore high commission has confirmed that the Singapore government is not involved in the NCA and (has given an assurance) that it will look into the matter as Warisan has made an official complaint,” he said.

Loretto said checks indicate that Hoch Standard was registered in Singapore on Sept 11, 2019 with a paid-up capital of US$1,000.

He said Warisan is determined to get to the bottom of the Nature Conservation Agreement that was signed and agreed upon by the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah state government without being discussed at the Sabah State Legislative Assembly.

“The agreement is hotly debated and has stirred great public interest due to the furtive manner in which it came to be, particularly when the communities living in the affected forests in the agreement were not informed of the deal.

“If the agreement proceeds, it will market carbon and natural capital over an area of more than two million hectares (4.9 million acres) of forests in Sabah for the next 100 years, he said in a statement on Monday.
Previously, Warisan also lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on the signing of the NCA.

The NCA is an agreement involving carbon credit trading, which is a market-based system that provides financial incentives to reduce the impact of greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming.

Before this, Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal claimed that the 100-year NCA agreement had caused two million hectares of forest in Sabah to be “handed over” to a company based in Singapore.

Jeffrey has denied that the deal was lopsided and disclosed last week that state owned Yayasan Sabah would be the local partner for the carbon trade deal.