SIBU: The state forestry management policy has been recognised as among the best in the world, seeing that 84% of the total 12.4 million ha landmass are still under lush vegetation.
Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan noted that in some European countries, forests only covered 10% of their total land size.
“We are very grateful because of the profound management of our forests. This is attributed to the good practices laid down by former chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. In addition, one million ha of land will be vested national park and wildlife sanctuary,” he spoke at Tanjung Manis Day and World Forestry Day celebrations on Saturday night.
The state government, he added, would also conserve another six million ha as permanent forest areas.
Moreover he called on Forestry Department to continue with the sustainable forest management and conservation programmes.
At the function, Tengah also raised claims by international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) stating that Sarawak had not done enough to protect the habitat of the endangered orang utans.
“The orang utans thrive along Batang Air and Sebuyau, which are conserved under Sarawak national parks and wildlife sanctuary. Another criticism (by the NGOs) concerns the climate change, which is actually a global matter,” he added.
Tengah also refuted allegations against the oil palm plantation industry in the state, which was said to be causing harm to the environment.
He said with its sound forest management policy, the state had done its utmost best to protect the environment.
“While we need to improve the standard of living of the people as well as the state economy, we do not compromise on our environment for the development of oil palm plantations,” he said.
Tengah, however, urged communities, public agencies and stakeholders to continue protecting and conserving the environment.
On Tanjung Manis, the minister acknowledged the developmental shift of the small district from being the hub of the state’s timber industry to becoming a natural port encompassing an area of 77,000ha.