Tuesday, November 29

Drop in number of seized logs this year, DUN told

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THE Sarawak Forest Department (SFD) had successfully seized around 4,654m³ of timber from 46 recorded cases as of May this year.

This was revealed by Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan who emphasised that the department had successfully tackled the issue on illegal logging since 2014.

“In 2014, there were 241 cases, of which 90,873m³ of timber were seized due to forest offences under the Forests Ordinance while in 2015, around 208 cases were recorded where 47,060m³ of timber were seized.

“This proves that the total number of cases have decreased by 13 per cent whereas the total number of seized logs have also been reduced by 48 per cent (between 2014 and 2015),” he said during his winding-up speech at the 18th State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting yesterday.

He also pointed out that since 2014, 36 sawmills had ceased operations due to shortage of timber resources and some were also found to be involved in processing illegal timber.

“The state government will continue to strengthen its preventive operations by using advanced technologies such as drone, hyperspectral and satellite imagery to ensure that early detection can be done.”

Meanwhile, Awang Tengah also said the government had established One Stop Compliance Centres (OSCC) in licensed areas with the aim of improving the effectiveness in monitoring errors, compliance with terms of logging licences as well as to facilitate the implementation of assessment of royalty works in the licensed areas.

“Strict and regular monitoring can ensure that damage to the forests and environment can be controlled more efficiently and also ensure that all licence holders comply with the laws and regulations that have been set.”

Around 48 OSCC have been proposed to be constructed this year, of which 27 are now in full operation.