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KUCHING, Nov 7: All timber companies must obtain sustainable forest management (SFM) certification by 2022, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said today, according to The Malay Mail.
Awang Tengah said that previously, the requirement had only been imposed on a select few previously.
While the state government has received many applications from timber operators to have their concession areas certified before the deadline, he asserted that the conditions are now stricter and must be fully met before certification will be issued.
During his remarks at the opening of the Second Global Timber Conference here, Awang Tengah said Sarawak recognised the importance of SFM to address the issues of forest degradation and deforestation which are prevalent in certain countries experiencing rapid development.
He added that the state government was also aware of the need to channel, through SFM, benefits for the people and to safeguard the environment.
Awang Tengah, who is also Second Minister of Urban Development and Natural Resources, said the state government has also strengthened the Sarawak Timber Legality Verification System (STLVS) by providing a formal standard to include independent third party verification to ensure compliance with legality requirements in accordance with the laws and regulations of Sarawak.
He added the full implementation of STLVS will effectively address issues raised by environmental groups, especially from the European Union, pertaining to the legality of timber and timber products sourced from the state.
Awang Tengah said that Sarawak has always been open to the external scrutiny of its forest management policies and practices.
He told the global timber conference that the timber industry played an important role in the state’s economy, with state exports of timber and timber products amounting to RM5.9 billion in 2016, while providing direct and indirect employment to about 150,000 people.
On the matter of illegal logging, Awang Tengah said the state Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources is committed to strengthening enforcement to combat and eliminate illegal logging activities. — DayakDaily