Logging To Be Reduced Gradually To Avoid Economic, Social Upheaval

THE State Government will not abruptly stop the issuing of timber licences to avoid any economic and social upheaval.

Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh said there is a need to take a prudent and holistic approach to phase out the issuing of timber licences.

There will be a gradual phasing out or reduction of logging activities in the natural forest to not disrupt the socio economic activities of the state, said Len in reply to a question posed by Aidel Lariwoo (BN-Sadong Jaya) if the government will halt the issue of timber licences to conserve the environment.

He added that this will also give those in the timber industry time to adjust to the new condition and situation.

The timber industry in 2016 had contributed RM5.9 billion to the state, said Len in response to a supplementary question from Aidel regarding the economic benefit from the timber industry to the state.

The timber industry said Len also provided 100,000 job opportunities to the people in the state as well providing road accessibility to remote areas.

On another note, the government he said has approved policies which are aimed to strenghten the enforcement against illegal logging together with other enforcement agencies.

A directive he added has also been issued to not issue any timber licences unless for development project purposes.

Meanwhile, existing timber licences in the Heart of Borneo (HoB) he added will have to acquire a forest management certification to ensure good practices and gain international recognition.

A roadmap for a Totally Protected Area (TPA) in Sarawak is also in the pipeline and one million hectare of land will be gazatted for the TPA by 2020.

If this target is reached, it will provide opportunities for the state to push on eco-tourism, elevate the socio economy of the locals and safeguard the natural environment, he added.

He also said a total of 100 million hectares has been set aside to replant a new forest to further reduce the dependency on natural forests.

Source: Borneo Post Online