Illegal logging: Taskforce to enhance enforcement effort

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Awang Tengah (seventh right) chairs the taskforce meeting.

KUCHING: The State Taskforce on Illegal Logging meeting yesterday discussed ways to enhance the existing enforcement mechanism with digital technology while improving the current timber management information system.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is also Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources chaired the meeting.

“Combating illegal logging will continue as one of the main agendas of the state government as far as managing its natural resources are concerned,” said Awang Tengah.

“Various implementing agencies are to continue strengthening their collaboration with each other to mitigate illegal logging activities and issues.”

He said from January to September this year, the Forest Department confiscated 8,850 logs from illegal loggers in Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu and Miri.

He pointed out that during the same period, 78 investigation papers were submitted by the department to the State Attorney General for further action.

Awang Tengah said enforcement activities would be further enhanced with the direct involvement of the Security and Enforcement Unit under the Chief Minister’s Department.

The unit will assist the Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation.

Among those present at the meeting were Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh; Datuk Dr Chai Khin Chung – a representative from the State Secretary’s office; Harwood Timber executive chairman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Bujang Nor; State Attorney General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid; State Legal Counsel Dato Sri JC Fong; permanent secretary to the Urban Development and Natural Resources Ministry Dr Wan Lizozman Wan Omar; Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation general manager Datu Sarudu Hoklai; and state director of forests Sapuan Ahmad.

Representatives from Samling Group of Companies, RH Group of Companies, Shin Yang Group of Companies, Ta Ann Group of Companies, WTK Group of Companies and KTS Group of Companies were also present.