Ex-minister praises CM for bold moves to preserve Sarawak’s nature

Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

KUCHING, Sept 16: Former Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar is confident Sarawak’s timber industry would be more marketable and sustainable following the recent stand by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

During a dinner with timber firm Ta Ann Group recently, Abang Johari said buyers would only accept products, especially timber, that follow the processes agreed upon during the Rio De Janeiro Earth Summit.

“If you don’t comply, the market will boycott you, unless you can show to them this is my certificate and in compliance with international standards,” he was quoted as saying.

On that, Wan Junaidi said he was very happy the state had finally acknowledged the requirements of certification for timber concession. The mere mention of sustainable management forest area was insufficient to satisfy international market demands under the new awareness to protect the environment.

This certification, he explained, would be based on national standards propagated by the national forestry authority, which is accepted by the European Union (EU) and other international markets.

“The Malaysian Timber Certification Programme was initially rejected by most states in Malaysia because of its stringent requirements and scepticism of some state leaders of its usefulness. In Sarawak, only certain timber concession holders followed the scheme on an individual basis.

“Now, I am happy to note that the chief minister has endorsed its implementation of certification in Sarawak. This will make Sarawak timber more marketable and able to penetrate the greater international market,” Wan Junaidi said in a statement today.

He added that from his personal discussions and meetings with EU representatives, only with this certification could timber products from Malaysia gain access to EU markets.

He said the EU and world markets would continue to apply stringent requirements if Sarawak did not change the way it managed its forests. Even the sustainable management concept would be deemed outdated in the very near future.

“The way forward would be forest plantation, while the natural forest in the state will be kept as permanent reserve forest with totally no harvesting,” Wan Junaidi suggested.

On a related matter, he hoped the Sarawak Marine Park Authority would be able to work with the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources to formalise the registration of the Luconia Shoals Marine Park with the Aichi Biodiversity Target.

This followed Abang Johari’s recent announcement on the gazetting of the Luconia Shoals as a marine national park.

“I must say my heartiest congratulations to the chief minister and the state government for registering the Luconia Shoals in the South China Sea over the Sunda Continental Shelf, which is more than a million square kilometres, as a marine park.

“This is bigger than the Tun Mustapha Reef Marine Park in Sabah, and thus becomes the biggest marine park in Malaysia. This augers well with Malaysia’s objective to fulfil the international obligation of the Aichi Biodiversity Target (under the Convention on Biodiversity) and Sustainable Development Goals to protect 10 per cent of national water as Marine Park Area. The achievement of this goal so far is only 3.48 per cent,” said Wan Junaidi.

He explained that for international involvement on marine biodiversity conservation, the target of registering 10 per cent of Malaysia’s water as marine park objective was to protect marine resources in Sarawak waters.

With the Sarawak Marine Park Authority working together with the Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources to formalise the registration of Luconia Shoals Marine Park with the Aichi Biodiversity Target, he hoped this would enhance the state’s good image internationally and enable Malaysia to fulfil its international obligation under the Agreement. — DayakDaily