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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 4: Allocation to undertake collaborative research on forestry science at the proposed research hub of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Bintulu Campus and University College of Technology Sarawak (UCTS) will be included in the upcoming State Budget.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg revealed that to support research and development (R&D) in the forestry sector, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government is looking into the possibility to work closely with two local universities namely UPM Bintulu Campus and UCTS.
“We propose that these two universities become research hubs for forestry research in Sarawak as they have the expertise and facilities.
“The state government is willing to allocate funds under collaborative research through this hub. I will put this in our budget,” he said when officiating the opening of the Industrial Forest Plantation Seminar held here today.
The Forest Department as the anchor agency, he continued, could play a role to coordinate the R&D activities.
“At the same time, your researchers could also be trained and participate in research programmes,” he added.
To further enhance collaboration in research, the state government through Forest Department Sarawak has also embarked on a collaboration project with Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and the Licensed for Planted Forests (LPF) holders following the signing of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) today.
The LPF holders involved include Tan Ann Holdings Berhad, RH Forest Corporation Sdn Bhd, Polima Forest Bintulu Sdn Bhd, Billion Venture Sdn Bhd, Shin Yang Forestry Sdn Bhd, Limba Jaya Timber Sdn Bhd, Bigwood Sdn Bhd, Immense Fleet Sdn Bhd, Subur Tiasa Forestry Sdn Bhd, Tanjong Manis Resources Sdn Bhd, Samling Reforestation (Bintulu) Sdn Bhd, Daiken Sarawak Sdn Bhd and Sarawak Planted Forest Sdn Bhd.
With this MOUs signed, Abang Johari noted that a strengthened collaborative R&D will be formed through the establishment of working groups between all the LPF holders.
“This is indeed an excellence strategy by the Forest Department in strengthening collaboration in R&D related to industrial forest plantation.
“This MoU will go beyond tree breeding and I was informed we will have intensified breeding programme that is already well structured by the Industrial Forest Research Centre of Forest Department Sarawak where the like of Chinese Eucalyptus Research Centre as well as Chinese Paulownia Research Centre will be involved in the big picture later,” he said.
Abang Johari pointed out that Sarawak needed further international level research centres to improve and further bring the best out of its R&D in this area apart from National Level Agency like FRIM.
On the seminar, he hoped that discussion and deliberation will lead to a better strategy to further strengthen the implementation of industrial forest plantation in Sarawak.
Assuring that the government is most willing and ready to provide the enabling conditions, he however also reminded LPF owners and other stakeholders to play their parts as well.
“The successful implementation of planted forests will create a new dimension in the downstream processing in Sarawak. Therefore, we need the commitment from everybody to ensure the sustainability of the timber industry in Sarawak,” he said.
Themed ‘Advancing Sustainable Forestry through Aggressive Industrial Forest Plantation’, the two-days hybrid seminar via online Zoom conferencing or physical attendance will see the presentation of 19 papers covering topics under ‘Current Development in International Forest Plantation’, ‘Current Development of Research and Development in Sarawak Plantation’, ‘Community, Technology and Certification’ and ‘Other Potential Industrial Tree Species’.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Assistant Minister of Urban Development and Resources Datu Len Talif Salleh, Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting and Forest director Datu Hamden Mohammad were among those present. — DayakDaily