‘Get tough on syndicates’

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 23 Oct 2014

PETALING JAYA: Political sanction is needed to check illegal logging involving syndicates with high-level connections, said Malaysian Anti-Corruption Foundation president Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should be given such a tool to act without fear or favour as it was impossible to tackle the age-old illegal logging problem without political will, he said.

Among the potential culprits were high-ranking forestry department officials, he said, adding that it was impossible for massive clearing work to be done without their knowledge.

“I am pleased that action is being taken at long last, as people are asking why it took the MACC so long to deal with the problems in Sarawak, Sabah and to some extent, in the peninsula,” Tunku Aziz said.

He was commenting on the MACC investigation into complaints of illegal logging in Sarawak that purportedly resulted in losses amounting to at least RM100mil a year.

Sarawak chief minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem had called for action against those involved in illegal logging at Maludam National Park, Bukit Tiban National Park and other forests in the state.

“Such brazen breach of law is shocking and they have allowed it to go on for so long,” Tunku Aziz said.

“I am glad there is more transparency in Sarawak under the new leadership. The Chief Minister has said himself that he is prepared to support the investigation,”

Tunku Aziz said unchecked forest clearing posed a hazard to environmental sustainability.

“The state also loses precious revenue if illegal logging is left unchecked,” he said.

He said the MACC would face an uphill task in putting an end to corruption in the illegal logging sector.

“As so many quarters with vested interest are involved, they will make it difficult for the MACC to proceed with their investigations.

“They will find ways to obstruct investigations. That is why I strongly believe there should be political sanction to ensure smooth action.”

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