KUCHING: The Sarawak government will make it mandatory for all timber concessions in the state to get forest management certification.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said this requirement would be implemented in phases to boost sustainable forest management in Sarawak.
“I’m happy that there are so many applications now for certification. That shows that (timber operators) are really committed to getting their management certified.
“If they can do it as soon as possible, that is better and that is our intention. But at the same time, they must make sure that all the criteria are fulfilled,” he told reporters after opening the Global Timber Conference 2017 here on Tuesday.
Awang Tengah said all timber operators in the state, including the “big six”, must apply for certification.
However, he did not give a timeframe for this.
The “big six” operators are Rimbunan Hijau, Samling, WTK, Shin Yang, KTS, and Ta Ann.
Awang Tengah also said the state government had strengthened the Sarawak Timber Legality Verification System (STLVS) by including independent third-party verification to ensure compliance with Sarawak’s laws and regulations.
“The full implementation of STLVS will effectively address issues raised by NGOs pertaining to the legality of timber and timber products sourced from Sarawak,” he said.
He reiterated that the state government was committed to strengthening enforcement to combat illegal logging and to make sure that industry stakeholders implemented sustainable forest management.
In addition, Awang Tengah said the state was set to reduce the timber industry’s reliance on natural forests for raw materials.
“Towards this end, we are investing in research and development and pushing for the establishment of a viable and robust industrial forest in the state,” he said.