SEREMBAN: Matters involving timber concessions and forest reserves should not be left to the discretion of the respective state executive committees.
Any decision to award timber concessions or to de-gazette permanent forest reserves in any state should be made by a committee comprising representatives from all political and other interested parties, said Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) secretary-general Josie M. Fernandez.
“If we are all committed to save the forests for our future generations, then why can't we have these committees set up for the sake of transparency,” she said at TI-M's Forest Governance and Integrity Programme here.
Fernandez said state governments could look at other ways to increase their revenue and not rely heavily on their forests.
Malaysian Nature Society president Prof Maketab Mohamed, who concurred with Fernandez, said the rapid clearing of forests, including forests cleared illegally, have contributed massively to the destruction of wildlife.
TI-M manager Victor Soosai said the body would also launch a system under its Forest Watch Initiative to report to the public the destruction of forests or encroachment via their smartphones.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission assistant commissioner Jamaludin Bakar, who was also present, said the body had prosecuted several individuals, particularly in Perak, Pahang, Selangor, Johor and Sabah, for illegal logging and seized machinery and timber worth millions of ringgit in recent years.
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