Sabah Forestry Dept to appoint Honorary Forest Rangers after thorough selection process

The Star 2 Jun 11;

SANDAKAN: The Sabah Forestry Department (SFD) is establishing a pool of Honorary Forest Rangers, comprising largely of members of local communities to help keep an eye on the state’s forest reserves.

The appointment of Honorary Rangers is not new to Sabah as it has been practiced by other departments such as the Wildlife Department and Sabah Parks for many years.

Following the success of these departments, the motion on the establishment of Honorary Forest Rangers was passed in the state legislative assembly last August.

Once appointed, the Honorary Forest Rangers will have similar powers to that of the forestry department’s officers as provided under Section 3A of the Forest Enactment 1968.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Honorary Forest Rangers training course, department director Datuk Sam Mannan however reiterated that the appointment of the Honorary Forest Rangers must undergo a vigorous selection process to ensure only genuine, trusted and interested candidates are selected.

“This is crucial as there will always be elements of abuse,” he added.

The selection process began with a five day training course conducted by the department whereby a total of 38 potential Honorary Forest Rangers, comprising candidates from the forest concession holders and local communities, attended the course.

The course covers the aspects of arresting, surveying and reporting, as well as basic survey techniques, wood identification, wildlife and environmental education.

More such training will be conducted and candidates having attended the training will then be assessed internally by the department and those successful will be shortlisted for appointment and notified in the government gazette.

It is the department’s hope that the introduction and appointment of the Honorary Forest Rangers will not only help to reduce, if not eliminate forest offences, but also help in increasing public awareness on the importance of forest conservation.