Malaysia: Illegal logging cases in Sarawak drop by 13 per cent

GOH PEI PEI New Straits Times 14 Jun 16;

KUCHING: Illegal logging cases in Sarawak have dropped by 13 per cent, with 208 cases recorded last year, compared to 241 cases the year before.

A total of 90,873 cubic meters of timber logs were seized in 2014, while only 47,060 cubic meters were seized last year, said State Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

As for the first five months of the year, 4,654 cubic meter of timber logs were seized in 46 raids.

Awang Tengah said the state government is serious in combating illegal logging activities in order to protect the flora and fauna as well as the state’s forests.

The efforts, he said, also led to the closure of 36 timber factories since two years ago, as they were found to be involved in processing illegal logs.

To date, four cases have been brought to court with 11 accused, seven jailed and four fined under various offences under the National Parks and Nature Reserves Ordinance, 1998 and Wildlife Protection Ordinance, 1998.

Delivering his winding up speech at the 18th State Legislative Assembly here today, Awang Tengah said the state government is continuing to enhance its operations and monitoring process by using advanced technologies such as drones, as well as hyperspectral and satellite imagery to ensure early detection of illegal activities.

“We want to make sure we can track them down before our forests are destroyed,” he said.

In addition, a total of 48 One Stop Compliance Centers (OSCC) have been set up throughout the state to better manage and monitor timber operators and ensure they comply with the rules and regulations.

“Of the total, 27 such centres are in full operation now,” he added.

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