KUCHING: The state government has stopped alienating state land for plantations, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
The move is to protect the forest from further destruction through opening up of large oil palm plantations.
“We are not going to allow any more new plantations, except on communal and NCR (native customary rights) land,” he said when receiving a courtesy call by Kuching Division Journalists Association (KDJA) executive committee members at his office in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex in Petra Jaya here yesterday.
Adenan said large portions of the state’s forest had been developed for oil palm plantations apart from being destroyed by legal and illegal logging activities.
“We have enough of that already and we are not going to open up any more plantations. Besides, there will be no more new timber licence and on top of that we will put a stop to illegal logging,” he reiterated.
The chief minister said when he first took action against illegal logging, he thought that the problem was small but now realised it was beyond his imagination.
“Illegal logging happens like nobody’s business. They (culprits) are so daring and they even go to fell timber in national parks without the knowledge of the forest officers or they just pretend not to know,” he said.
He said the government was very serious about stamping out illegal logging and had armed Forest Department’s enforcement officers with guns to better deal with the problem.
“We need cooperation from everybody. We are not only expecting enforcement officers to carry out their duties as expected out of them but we also appreciate information from the public and the press people.
“So far the media have been very supportive and we should continue to work together. This has nothing to do with politics. It does not matter whether you are pro-government or pro-opposition because what we want is the result. We want to save our forests,” he said.