KUCHING: The Forest Department conducted 240 raids and seized some 12,000 cubic metres of timber as of July this year in the fight against illegal logging.
Director Sapuan Ahmad said the department has also submitted 122 investigation papers (IPs) to the State Attorney-General’s (SAG) Chambers.
“Under the new law, the owners have to prove to me that those logs are legal. Not like before, that I have to prove that they are wrong. So, it is quite easy for us now,” he told journalists after opening the workshop ‘Market Requirements For Timber And Timber Product Legality Affecting Sarawak, Forging The Path Forward’ yesterday.
“There are procedures. We have to prepare the IPs and they have to prove that the logs belong to them. Now they have to tell us that they are doing the right job under the new law.”
In his speech, Sapuan said the forestry sector remained a major contributor to the state’s socioeconomic development.
Based on trade statistics in 2013, he said Sarawak exported 6.8 million cubic metres of timber and timber products and collected approximately RM7.2 billion in revenue.
Last year the state exported 6.6 million cubic metres of timber and timber products, collecting RM7.3 billion in revenue.
“Sarawak wants to continue exporting timber and I would like to see that we export high value timber. Everyone of us in the forestry sector has our own responsibility and role to play.
“All the timber companies must take the initiative to weed out illegal logging, adhere to good operating standards and aim for forest management certification,” he said.