Malaysia: Illegal logging in Terengganu -- RM2mil worth of machinery and timber seized

ZARINA ABDULLAH New Straits Times 21 Jan 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: State Forestry Department enforcement officers seized various types of logging machinery and timber worth more than RM2 million during a raid at the Cherul forest reserve in Kemaman on Tuesday.

Its director Datuk Azmi Nordin said five rangers from the Kemaman branch were involved in the 11am operation , which was mounted following 24-hours of observation and a tip off from the public.

Azmi said the five rangers from the forestry department units had to seek back up from the police before they managed to stop the illegal logging activity at the site.

"Our rangers had been monitoring the illegal logging activity since Monday.

The raiding party discovered that the loggers had fell trees without a valid licence," he said at a press conference in his office in Kuala Terengganu today.

"My men confronted the loggers who had initially given their cooperation but things changed when a representative of the concession arrived at the site.

He started threatening my men who then left the site to avoid any untowards incident," he said.

He said the rangers left the site at 1pm and returned with reinforcements comprising 20 rangers and four policemen at 7pm.

The loggers, mostly Indonesians were no longer at the site.

The logging machineries, equipment and timber were abandoned at the site.

"We seized a dozen logging machineries , including five bulldozers and four excavators and timber worth more than RM2 million," he said, adding that the team and policemen had to take a two hour off-road ride to reach the site from Chenih.

" The contractor, in his 40's from Kuantan, who was involved in the incident has been identified and will have his statement recorded next week," he said, adding that all of the seized items were placed at a store in Chenih.

He said the case was being investigated under Section 81(2) of the Forestry Act 1984 for illegal logging.

Action taken against illegal logging mastermind
The Star 21 Jan 16;

KUCHING: Action has been taken against a senior officer of the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) for allegedly masterminding an illegal logging activity in Kampung Danu, Padawan.

SFC chief executive officer Wong Ting Chung, who confirmed this yesterday, said the corporation had handed over the illegal logging case to the Forestry Department of Sarawak, which was in the process of taking legal action against the culprits.

He said that the logging permit given to the Kampung Danu cooperative had been withdrawn after it was found that it had been abused for logging activities outside the permitted area.

“We have started the disciplinary process against him (the SFC officer) in accordance with the company’s rules and regulations.

“He has answered our show-cause letter and we will decide his fate soon.”

Apart from withdrawing the permit, the Forestry Department of Sarawak seized 750 logs and the machines used in the illegal logging during a raid on Dec 8.

The logs and machines are still being held at the junction of the logging road in Kampung Danu.

The department, in a statement last month, said the culprits could be charged under the new Sarawak Forest Ordinance 2015, which carries heavier penalties.

Prior to the raid, a group of Kampung Danu villagers, who are committee members of the village cooperative, had lodged a report at the Siburan police station denying that they had given their approval to the cooperative to apply for the logging permit.

In their report, they claimed that several members of the cooperative had used the cooperative for their personal benefit.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Public Health Assistant Minister Datuk Dr Jerip Susil, who is also Bengoh assemblyman, strongly denied his involvement in the logging activities. — Bernama

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