LAWAS: The government has no immediate plan to amend existing laws in imposing heavier penalties upon illegal loggers.
Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan believed that the focus should be on intensifying the enforcement, adding that related agencies including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had been directed to beef up their enforcement beats in curbing rising cases of illegal logging in the state.
“We admit that the situation is very worrying but at the moment, the penalties that we have under existing laws are sufficient. What is required are intensified and integrated enforcement programmes to book the culprits,” he said after launching the Lawas Bike Week (LBW) programme at Kampung Punang yesterday.
He noted that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem himself had shown high commitment in getting enforcement agencies to crush illegal logging operations, which caused the state to incur losses worth millions of ringgit.
According to Awang Tengah, Adenan had announced that 50 enforcement officers would be equipped with firearms during the course of their duties. Nevertheless, Awang Tengah – who is also Bukit Sari assemblyman – also urged members of the public to assist in the fight against illegal logging, by reporting immediately to the authorities on suspicious activities in their areas.
“Quality information from the public is needed so that speedy action could be taken our enforcers,” he said.