Friday, December 3

Longer tenure for timber licence


CM says this will ensure logging operators obtain Sustainable Forest Management certification

Adenan (third right) being briefed by Sudarsono (third left) on the various exhibits when visiting an exhibition set up during the Forest Management Certification (Natural Forest) Seminar. At right is Awang Tengah. – Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi


Adenan (fourth left) receives a portrait from Sudarsono as a memento for officiating at the event.

KUCHING: Tenure for the timber licence can be extended up to 60 years from the date of issuance as the state encourages timber players to practice sustainable forest management.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem said the long term timber concession will become an incentive for logging operators to obtain Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) certification.

He said one of the conditions that would be imposed is that licence operators should incorporate the requirement for certification within three years from the date of approval. Failure to comply with the condition shall cause the licence to be terminated.

“Earlier this year, Sarawak Timber Association (STA) has highlighted and brought to my attention the challenges in obtaining forest certification but we must pursue it now to become competitive.

“I noted that one of the challenges is that many timber licensees have short tenure periods which are not conducive for logging operators to undertake forest management certification in view of high costs involved.

“At the moment, timber concessions are issued for a period between five years or 10 years. With this short period of time, operators would not be bothered and after logging, they would just run away.

“At least if they are committed for 60 years, they can do proper planning to create a sustainable forest management in their concession areas,” Adenan said when officiating at the Forest Management Certification (Natural Forest) Seminar at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel here yesterday.

As a responsible government, he explained that the state has a major role to play in setting out a policy and institutional framework, fully committed to sustainable forest management and the government will adopt any best practices in forest management to improve the industry here.

He urged timber players to cooperate fully with the government to combat the negative perception that the state’s forest is poorly or ineffectively managed.

Pointing out that forest management certification is the way forward for the state’s timber industry, he highlighted that some benefits can be anticipated from forest certification especially in terms of improved market access, image and forest management.

“Forest Certification has transformed forest products market over the last 15 years, the demand for certified forest products is growing, driven by concern for the sustainability of supply.

“It is now difficult to export products from uncertified tropical forests to environmentally sensitive markets. Conversely, tropical timber from certified forests in other parts of Malaysia is finding improved export opportunities and strong market growth,” he continued.

Adenan said the government would review the forest management policy from time to time with the possibility that forest certification would be mandatory for all licensed areas in the future.

The state is encouraging all major licence holders namely KTS, Shin Yang, WTK, Samling, Rimbunan Hijau, Ta Ann and Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC) to obtain the International Forest Management Certification for their timber products, which can be the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) schemes.

As Special Functions Minister in June last year, Adenan announced that the state wanted concession areas within the heart of Borneo to obtain SFM certification by July 2017. He reiterated yesterday that major timber players are required to get certification for at least one of their licence areas by July 2017.

Some 310 participants from 20 relevant government agencies, 15 timber operators and two NGOs were invited to the seminar.

Among those present were Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, Resource Planning and Environment Ministry permanent secretary Datu Sudarsono Osman, state Forest director Sapuan Ahmad, Malaysian Timber Certification Council chairman Datuk Freezailah Che Yeom and Peninsular Malaysia Forestry director-general Datuk Prof Dr Abdul Rahman Abdul Rahim.