Friday, December 3

Voon calls for transparency on seized log management

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KUCHING: Transparency on log management after confiscation of illegal timber should be forthcoming, said PKR women national vice-president Voon Shiak Ni, while applauding the enforcement agencies in combating smuggling and illegal logging activities in the state.

PKR believes the public begs the question on the details beyond announcement of successful confiscation of the logs which were usually not revealed to the public, she said.

“The public often wonders where the logs are after they are confiscated and we think that it is pertinent for the enforcement agencies to enlighten the people on the issue as part and parcel of the operation to curb illegal logging,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Voon, who is PKR Stampin branch vice chairperson, said the response given by the authorities regarding the end-game in question would show its adherence to the transparency pledge by the state government.

She said illegal logging was a long-standing problem in the state, which not only undermined enormous amount of state revenue but also brought with it devastating effect to the environment.

“We applaud the Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem) for his bold move in declaring war against illegal logging in the state and we hope that his earnest effort will persevere to ensure that all the parties involved practise sustainable logging.”

Adenan, earlier this month announced that logs worth RM41.16 million were confiscated last year compared to the amount of RM5.6 million in 2013 and RM10.32 in 2012.

The RM41.16 million worth of logs, based on market price, involved 82,326.8 cubic metres in various types and sizes, with royalty amounting to RM5.3 million.

The state Forest Department stated that the seizure was an increase of 634 per cent over that in 2013. Illegal logging dominated with 109 cases (52 per cent), followed by smuggling of logs with 87 cases (41 per cent).

Adenan said the huge success from the 210 raids carried out by the state Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation also indicated that the problem of illegal logging in Sarawak was widespread.