Sunday, June 16

Awang Tengah: More than 80 per cent of state’s land mass covered by forest

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FOR OUR HEROES: Awang Tengah (second left) seen contributing to the Lahad Datu Heroes Fund. Also seen are (from left) Entri, Morshidi and Len. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi.

FOR OUR HEROES: Awang Tengah (second left) seen contributing to the Lahad Datu Heroes Fund. Also seen are (from left) Entri, Morshidi and Len. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi.

KUCHING: More than 80 per cent of Sarawak’s 12.4 million hectares (ha) of land mass are covered by forest, an evidence of the state’s high commitment to its forest management programme.

Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan on Sunday said the government would also continue to strengthen its efforts in sustainable forest management, biodiversity conservation and research.

The Sarawak Planted Forest, an agency entrusted with the state’s forest replanting initiative, has targeted to establish about one million hectare (ha) of planted forest by 2020. In addition, the state has also targeted to gazette about one million ha of forest as totally protected area in seven years’ time.

“The state has a land mass area of about 12.4 million ha, in which more than 80 per cent are covered by forest. This includes secondary forest.

“This is by far much higher when compared to European countries such as Holland, Denmark, Germany and United Kingdom among others, which only have less than 10 per cent forest area throughout each country.

“We should be proud of this fact despite the state receiving numerous criticisms and negative opinions from both local and foreign individuals and NGOs. I believe all these allegations were made to cover up their own weaknesses and shortcoming.

“They did all these for the benefit of their own and certain individuals and organisations,” said Awang Tengah, who is also Public Utilities Minister, when officiating at the state-level World Forestry Day 2013 celebration dinner here.

Also present were Assistant Environment Minister Datu Len Talif Salleh, Assistant Public Utilities Minister Datuk Sylvester Entri Muran and state secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Morshidi Ghani.