Sarawak moves to end illegal logging


  • Nation
  • Friday, 10 Oct 2003

By JACK WONG

KUCHING: While illegal logging is not a big problem in the state, Sarawak is intensifying efforts to put a stop to all such activities. 

Sarawak Forestry Corporation Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Cheong Ek Choon said a study by an independent body had revealed that these activities were insignificant. 

“But we want to go for perfection and clean it up,” he added when responding to questions after the operational launch of the corporation’s sustainable forestry compliance revenue unit at Kuching Hilton yesterday. 

The corporation’s enforcement unit recently seized illegal logs from the state’s national parks as well as sawn timber produced from illegal logs in Samarahan Division. 

Sarawak Forestry is wholly owned by the state. 

Cheong said the state collected between RM800mil and RM900mil a year in revenue from royalties on logs and other timber products. 

STATE RESOURCE: Cheong striking a log with a hammer to launch the revenue unit while Sarawak Forestry Corporation general manager Elbson Marajan looks on in Kuching.

Sarawak produced about 12 million cubic metres of logs last year, with 9.2 million cubic metres from permanent forest estates and the rest from the conversion of state land into oil palm plantations, he said. 

He expected log production to stabilise at between nine million and 10 million cubic metres a year when state land allocated for plantation projects was fully utilised. 

Cheong said the state needed to increase the utilisation rate of felled trees from the present 70% to 80% through research and development programmes. 

On tree plantation projects, on which the state has embarked on a large scale, he said the plantations were expected to contribute some 15 million cubic metres of raw materials a year for the processing industry in 15 to 20 years’ time. 

Earlier, at the launch, Cheong said the state had designated six million hectares of land as permanent forests and one million hectares as totally protected areas. 

He said the state was committed to managing forest resources using the best sustainable forest management. 

“Due to environmental lobbies and legislative requirements, tropical timber has difficulties in capturing big markets in European Union countries and the United States.”  

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