Dept severely dents illegal logging through enhanced enforcement units

Sapuan (seated fourth right) with awards’ recipients from Miri.

Sapuan (seated fourth right) with awards’ recipients from Miri.

MIRI: The state Forestry Department has since last year, achieved substantial successes against illegal logging and mismanagement of forest resources since strengthening its enforcement section and collaborating with several other agencies.

Its director Sapuan Ahmad said to date they had investigated 154 cases involving a total of 37,000 cubic metres with a value of RM11.2 million.

“The establishment of the Flying Squad (air surveillance) is the most effective way to monitor the forest and to detect illegal logging,

We have conducted joint operation with other enforcement agencies such as APMM, MACC, PDRM, JPJ, PGA and others. The biggest operation with MACC codenamed Operasi Gergagi was conducted 11-12 May this year which resulted in suspected logging operators’ accounts being frozen to the tune of RM560-million,” he said the department’s Annual Excellence Service Award Dinner and Presentation on Wednesday night.

Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem officiated at the function.

Also attending were Adenan’s wife, Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu’ the Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, state secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani, state cabinet assistant ministers, WWF-Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Dr Dionysius

Sharma and senior government officials.

Sapuan added that among other successes achieved through Operasi Gergaji was the closure of 33 sawmills which had stop operating since then.

He warned that the department and other relevant agencies will not condone any mismanagement of forest resources adding that to enhance enforcement capability, they will utilise the advance technology such as Hyperspectral System and CATS (Compact Airborne Tactical System).

Sapuan assured that his department would continue to prioritise good governance that is effective administration, implementing best practices in forest management, effective enforcement of laws and regulation and compliance to license conditions.

He said to achieve the goal several strategies were implemented and among them were getting all forest timber licenses in the area of Heart of Borneo be certified while getting the 25 licensees to pledge their commitment to certify their concession area covering 1.6 million ha.