KUCHING: Notorious gangsters may be behind illegal logging in Sarawak, said State Resources Planning and Management II Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.
He said, although there was no concrete evidence that the gangsters were involved, the state did not rule out the possibility.
Awang Tengah was speaking to reporters after attending World Forestry Day 2009 at the Forest Research Centre here recently.
In 2007, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud admitted that gangsters were involved in illegal logging activities in Sarawak by protecting those who committed timber thefts.
In the same year, the state police launched Ops Cantas Kenyalang to combat gangland activities, including illegal logging.
To tackle this long-standing issue, Awang Tengah said the State Forestry Department, Forestry Corporation and Timber Industry Development Corpo-ration would be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to monitor illegal logging.
Meanwhile, he said the state had signed and ratified 170 multilateral agreements with several countries as a commitment towards the preservation of the environment and biodiversity. — Bernama