First batch of 14 interns receive certificates for completing CIP


The interns in a photocall with Len (centre back row), Zolkipli (back row, third right) and (from left) Hon, Kho and others.

KUCHING: The first batch of 14 interns received certificates for completing the Conservation Internship Programme for Forest Management Certification in a special ceremony held at a leading hotel here yesterday.

The CIP was launched by Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), in collaboration with Sarawak Timber Association (STA), University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and other stakeholders, to train conservation experts in the state, build capacities necessary for the fulfillment criteria and indicators for forest management certification as well as facilitate the setting up of conservation departments in Forest Management Units (FMUs) undergoing forest management certification.

Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh presented the certificates to the interns, witnessed by SFC acting chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton.

CIP is a strategic investment in young graduates to enhance conservation effort by imparting knowledge to them.

“Moreover, this programme can also be expanded to include syllabus for tourist guides and wildlife rangers to add more value to the programme.

“With this approach, we hope to attract more Sarwakian graduates not confined only to the fields of forestry, environment and biological sciences but even engineers or others who are enthusiastic about conservation,” Len said.

The government through SFC, has contributed RM400,000 to support the nine-month programme.

“It is an expensive programme but I hope it can be held annually to benefit our young foresters. We are lucky to have the support from the private sector and we are optimistic this is doable as long as we work with STA and other stakeholders on a 50:50 basis,” he said,

The programme, he added, was integrated with all the necessary elements such as the understanding of biodiversity and the timber industry in Sarawak, the knowledge of laws and policies, and the management skills of forest operation, specifically targeted toward students who plan a career in conservation and are willing to make a long-term commitment.

“We must acknowledge that for CIP initiative to yield meaningful results, there is the need to enlist more trained young graduates who are passionate about conservation.

“We are not against real environmentalists. We are all for it because then it will be easier for us to explain issues than to those who pretend to understand,” he said in reference to people without the technical knowledge but claimed to be environmentalists or conservationists.”

Len also said that laws and rules could be enacted and established, but if devoid of deep-rooted love and awareness for conservation, all efforts, programmes and initiatives would become superficial or nothing.

As conservation is multi-disciplinary in nature and involves many different departments or agencies, he said the stakeholders’ cooperation was important.

“To meet sustainable forest management goals, the state government cannot operate in isolation.

“It needs collaborations between academics, industrial players and policy makers.

“Participation and contributions by timber companies and government agencies are instrumental especially during the implementation process. In developing strategies on the subject, expertise training and equal sharing of resources must be given.”

Zolkipli meanwhile said the interns were the best as they have passed the stringent screening process after completing the nine-month programme covering eight modules delivered through a mix of classrooms, comprising in-situ lectures, hands-on learning and experience of practical, fieldwork, laboratory sessions and assessment.

“The next intake for this programme will be in April. Now, we are doing extra homework.

“The interview and screening process for potential candidates will be held in February where they will be placed at selected national parks for a period of time to see if they are fit to enter the programme,” he added.

STA general manager Dr Peter Kho and WWF-Malaysia Sarawak programnme leader Dr Jason Hon were among those present.