KUCHING: Excessive logging concessions issued to the so-called ‘Big Six’ (six major Sarawak-based timber corporations) not illegal logging is the cause of serious deforestation in the state State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen claimed yesterday.
“The following is the gist of the answer that I obtained from the Government in Sarawak DUN sitting on April. I have asked for the list of all the timber licences and the respective acreage that are held by the big six logging companies in Sarawak, namely WTK Holdings SdnBhd, KTS Holdings SdnBhd, RimbunanHijau, Ta Ann, Samling and Shin Yang groups and their subsidiaries or related companies,” said the Kota Sentosa assemblyman.
Chong who is also Bandar Kuching MP claimed concessions given to the ‘Big 6’ are:
•Ta Ann Group of Companies: 433,003 Ha /1,069,935 acres
•RH Group of Companies : 1,001,877 Ha / 2,475,604 acres;
•Shin Yang Group of Companies: 500,904 Ha /1,237,716 acres;
•Samling Group of Companies: 1,288,389 Ha / 3,183,565 acres;
•KTS Group of Companies: 144,485 Ha / 357,017 acres
•WTK Group of Companies: 357,017 Ha / 882,176 acres
“In total, the Big 6 (Six) hold 3,724,675 Hectares or 9,203,545 acres of timber concession,” claimed Chong through a press statement.
Sarawak’s total land mass is 12.4 million hectares, out of which there are 10 million hectares of forest. Out of the 10 million hectares of forest, 1 million hectares of totally protected areas and 4 million hectares reserved for agriculture and other uses including oil palm plantation, he pointed out.
Therefore there were only 5 million hectares of forest for timber production out of which 70 per cent was already given to the Big Six, he said.
“It is thus no wonder that in the year of 2013, out of the RM7.16 billion of export earnings of timber and timber products from Sarawak, 75 per cent was contributed by the Big 6, while in the year of 2014, out of the RM7.25 billion of export earnings of timber and timber products from Sarawak, 76 per cent was contributed by the Big 6,” he claimed.
Compared to the 3.7 million hectares in which the Big 6 could legally chop down trees and destroy the natural forest illegal logging referred to by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem was just a drop in the ocean, stressed Chong.
He said if the State government truly wished to stop deforestation in Sarawak, the State government should review and reduce these timber concession licences issued.
Chong also noted that based on the statistics given there was an over-concentration of the timber resources under the control of the Big 6.
Such concentration of natural resources in a few companies is not good for the economic development of the general ordinary Sarawakians he pointed out.