KUALA LUMPUR: The government is mulling introducing heavier penalties for illegal trespassing and the unlawful possession of forest produce, says Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar (pic).
He said the Ministry had discussed the matter with several states and wants to further strengthen the National Forestry Act 1984.
Among the proposals is an increase of the fine from RM500,000 to RM5mil for those found to have unlawful possession of forest produce.
For illegal trespassing, the government plans to increase the fine from RM10,000 to RM30,000.
"This is to strengthen several provisions and introduce higher fines, including for those found to have illegally trespassed," he told reporters after attending the National Land Council Meeting on Wednesday (Dec 4) in Parliament.
The meeting was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Xavier said the National Land Council Meeting agreed on those amendments to ensure that the law relating to forests is in line with the latest developments.
This includes the unlawful possession of forest products, including logging and to improve forest management.
He added that the proposed amendments would be brought before the end of next year.
"Please give us some time," he added.
Asked about Sabah and Sarawak, Xavier said that they have their own separate ordinance.
"They can either follow our proposals, or they can enact their own through their respective state assemblies," he said.
On palm oil, Xavier said the meeting agreed on the proposal of the mandatory implementation of certification compliance from the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MPSO) beginning Jan 1.
Among the proposals is the limiting of palm oil plantation area to 6.5mil ha across the country.
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