KUCHING: The state will not neglect nature conservation in the quest to sustain physical development, said Assistant Minister of Planning and Resource Management Mohd Naroden Majais.
He said this is because the state acknowledges the importance of providing ample land for conservation of wild life habitats.
According to him, the state is targeting to gazette a total land area of 1.1 million hectares by the year 2020 as national parks, nature reserves and wild life sanctuaries known also as totally protected areas (TPA).
Naroden disclosed that to date, the state already has about 780,000 hectares of TPAs with more than half trans-boundary in nature.
Among them are Batang Ai National Park and Lanjak Entimau Wild Life Sanctuary with a total area of about 1,927 square kilometres, which are adjacent to Indonesia’s Bentung Kerihun National Park in Kalimantan.
“It becomes a policy tool for us (state government) and helps in improving state laws in protecting wildlife,” he said at the opening of ‘Heart of Borneo: Wild life crime buster’ course for investigators and prosecutors, at Pullman Hotel, here yesterday.
Naroden, who is also Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office, pointed out that the state already has laws to protect wildlife, among them the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998 and National Parks and Nature Reserves Ordinance, 1998, which were being enhanced from their 1958 and 1990 editions.
He explained that the enhancement was carried out following the state’s acceptance of the Sarawak Wild Life Master Plan, a report prepared for the state in collaboration with Wildlife Ordinance Society in 1998.
Naroden stressed that the state government views the protection of wildlife from illegal trade as a very serious matter, especially when it involves rare and totally protected animals.
In view of this, he pointed out that it was important for the law enforcers to be always on guard to ensure that our wildlife species are well-protected from poachers.
He suggested that beefing up of information and intelligence gathering be a priority in order to ensure the smooth and effective enforcement of wildlife protection.
Among those present were Forest Department acting deputy director Sapuan Ahmad and Traffic South East Asia representative Derek Anderson.