Better management expected of S'wak parks, wildlife with restructuring

KUCHING: Sarawak's flora and fauna will be managed in a more focused manner following the restructuring of the state's Forest Department and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said on Thursday (Jan 2) that the department would be taking over SFC's functions in regulating forests, while SFC would concentrate on managing national parks and wildlife protection.

The restructuring was approved by the state cabinet on Dec 12 and came into effect on Thursday (Jan 2).

"The reason is we want to have focus. We want to develop our forestry industry and this is within the ambit of the Forest Department.

"Before this, it was managed by SFC, which to me is not an ideal arrangement. It must be monitored and supervised by the Forest Department," Abang Johari said after witnessing the handover of duties between both agencies at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here.

He said the restructuring would also enhance the department's role in sustainable forest management, including replanting based on the state's industrial forest policy.

"Our forests must be sustainable and managed properly. We have to replant our forests to provide raw material for our timber industry, which must be sustainable too.

"The Forest Department is the authority to do this and it can engage with the international community, because forestry is a global issue," he said.

Abang Johari also said the separation of roles would enable SFC to manage national parks and wildlife more effectively.

He said this included monitoring illegal trade in wildlife.

"The Sarawak government is very concerned on this and we need proactive and preemptive action to protect our national parks and habitats.

"The world community is also concerned on this, so we are taking our role seriously," he said.

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