KUALA LUMPUR: Heavier sentences should be imposed for those involved in illegal logging, as existing penalties have no effect on offenders, said Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner said the existing fine of between RM50,000 and RM60,000 was no longer relevant as culprits could earn millions of Ringgit through their illegal logging activities.
"There should also be an element of deterrent. The punishment has to be reviewed.
"If it needs whipping, so be it, because the impact of their activities not only result in loss of the country treasures, but also cause destroy environment," he added.
He told this to reporters after signing the Integrity Pledge and launching of the No Gift campaign at the Peninsular Malaysia Forestry headquarters here Thursday.
Mohd Shukri said weaknesses in enforcing the law, especially against timber thieves, should be addressed immediately.
"We heard there is shortage of staff in some states. If so, that has to be addressed immediately, and the same with certain procedural constraints.
"For example in Sarawak, studies show they are losing RM100mil a year. What's wrong with making some investment to save something of a bigger value," he added.
He said MACC was willing to assist the Forestry Department and the respective state governments in their investigations if there were elements of corruption involved.
"Cases involving timber theft are not within our jurisdiction, but if they involve corruption, then we can act," he added. - Bernama