Malaysia: Stop issuing fresh logging licences, says Wan Junaidi

The Star 22 Nov 16;

PUTRAJAYA: State governments should stop issuing fresh logging licences and instead focus on eco-tourism.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar commended the Sarawak government for having done this.

“In my opinion, all logging should be stopped. Sarawak has stopped giving new licences or land for logging purposes. I think all states should do the same,’’ he told a press conference here.

The minister was commenting on the logging controversy in Gua Musang, Kelantan, where the indigenous orang asli are confronting the state government.

On the conflict between the orang asli and Kelantan government, Dr Wan Junaidi said he had asked the state government and state Forestry Department to report to him on the status of the disputed land.

“The loggers claim that they have been given the licence to carry out logging in the area but the orang asli are claiming that the land is theirs. I do not know who is right or wrong, so I’ve asked the state government to find out and report to me on who actually owns the land,” he said.

The logging dispute saw the orang asli set up two barricades between Pos Tohoi and Pos Gob to prevent logs from leaving two areas in the Balah permanent forest reserve. The state government then issued a deadline for the orang asli to dismantle the barricades.

Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob recently said a meeting would be held with the orang asli manning the blockades to resolve the issue.

The state Forestry Department issued a stop-work order in October to reduce tension between the loggers and the orang asli.

Dr Wan Junaidi said he had spoken about logging at a the recent National Physical Planning Council meeting, which was attended by all state governments.

“I have raised the matter but my ministry can only advise. Matters regarding land or the issuance of logging licences are still under the purview of the respective state governments,” he said.

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