KUCHING (Nov 25): The state government should review certified Forest Timber Licence (FTL) tenures to be extended to 60 years as promised, said Bawang Assan assemblyman Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh.
“To date, there are 16 long-term FTLs certified with the Malaysia Criteria and Indiciators (MC&I) for Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) under the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) in Sarawak.
“There are some circumstances where long-term FTLs were not renewed upon expiry and the FTLs were reissued to other parties by the state government even though the existing licensees are in the midst of processing their forest management certification audit,” he said in his debate speech for the second reading of the Supply (2023) Bill 2023 during the DUN sitting here today.
Wong said on July 13, 2017, the state government had extended the Forest Management Certification (FMC) policy for all long-term FTL in Sarawak and it is mandatory for all FTL licensees to obtain their FMC by the end of this year.
Wong said the state government had promised to extend the FTL tenure to 60 years as a form of incentive for successfully certified FTL.
Wong also said the state government should adhere to the original arrangement of all measures to ensure the successful implementation of SFM.
He said in the early 1990s, the state government started to incorporate and cooperate with the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) to promote SFM of natural tropical forests in Sarawak to make the state have high standard forest management practices compared with other tropical timber-producing countries.
“In order to enhance SFM activities throughout Sarawak, the state government in July 2014 announced the FMC Policy would apply to all long-term FTL concession areas which fall within the Heart of Borneo designated boundary and they are to be certified by 2017.
“For those FTLs outside the Heart of Borneo designated boundary, participating in the FMC exercise is voluntary,” he said.