Tuesday, November 12

‘No more licence until illegal timber activities curtailed’

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SIBU: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem says he will not issue any more timber licence until timber smuggling and other illegal timber activities are curtailed.

Adenan speaks to the media in Sibu.

He told reporters this after officiating at a seminar on ‘Integrity Among Enforcement Officers’ at RH Hotel here yesterday.

Noting that illegal logging was still very serious in Sarawak, he said up to September this year, the government had seized illegal timber worth RM2.95 million.

“It is 400 per cent more than the amount of seizures last year.

“I will not be issuing anymore timber licence for the time being until we have reduced timber smuggling and other illegal timber activities.

“We seek the cooperation of existing licensees for information of illegal logging activities within their areas or outside their areas.

“And when they renew their licences or extend the time period, we will see how much they’ve carried out their responsibility because they can be effective enforcement,” he said.

Meanwhile, the chief minister assured the public that the state government was taking action against the illegal trading of Fresh Fruit Brunches (FFB).

Lamenting the seriousness of oil palm theft, he said over the last three months illegal trading of FFB involved a total of 72,000 metric tonnes a month.

“This translates into RM27.5 million worth of FFB based on current price. If we translate this 72,000 metric tonnes, it is equivalent to 95,000 acres of plantation areas.

“If we do not take action, it will multiply,” he cautioned, adding the government was not against genuine palm oil planters.

Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), issued 14 show cause letters to one mill, one small holder and 12 oil palm collection centres in July.

“The licences of three collection centres were later cancelled while the remainder nine centres had their licences suspended for three months. The licence of the small holder was suspended for two months, and the mill was slapped with a stern warning letter,” he disclosed.

As for August and September, 15 collection centres, two mills and one nursery operator were found to be potential recipients of show cause letters.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, and acting state secretary Datu Ose Murang were among those present at the seminar.