Sabah to bring state forestry laws in line with federal legislation

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is planning to amend its forestry laws to bring them in line with the amendments to the National Forestry Act 1984 passed in Parliament in July, says Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

The Chief Minister said the proposed amendment to the state’s Forest Enactment 1968 will cover areas that will meet international standards, addressing such issues as climate change, mitigation through carbon trading, and biodiversity conservation.

The amendments will also streamline the cooperation between licensees under the Sustainable Forest Management Licence Agreement and the state government.

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“I believe it is time for the state government to also carry out such efforts to amend the Forest Enactment 1968 to ensure its (legal) framework can move hand in hand with current developments,” he said on Wednesday (Aug 24) night during the Forestry Appreciation Ceremony 2022 at the Sabah International Convention Centre here.

The Chief Minister said the amendments to the national Act aimed to improve the protection of permanent forests in the country.

They also outlined strict conditions for degazetting any permanent forest reserves in Peninsular Malaysia, he added.

ALSO READ: Increasing fines alone won’t protect forests, say activists

“In this aspect, I believe they have emulated us (Sabah) because this was practised in Sabah much earlier.

“I was made to understand that through the Act's amendment, the rate of fines, punishment and additional penalties to curb forestry offences was also increased.

“As such, I have urged the Sabah Forestry Department and other departments such as the State Attorney General’s Office and Sabah Natural Resources Office to continuously study provisions in the (state's enactment) to assimilate the (federal) amendments... in line with the interests of the state government,” Hajiji said.

He added that management of permanent forest areas should also be enhanced.

“This is to support the state government’s policy of maintaining at least 50% of its land area as forested, and achieve its 30% target of Totally Protected Areas,” he said.

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